The Québec government in Canada has authorised Nouveau Monde Graphite’s Matawinie mining project for high-purity graphite concentrate production of 100,000tpa, by issuing a ministerial decree.
The authorisation for the project, which is located only 150km north of Montréal, comes after an environmental review.
Constituting the largest projected graphite operation in North America and Europe, the project is expected to become the world’s first all-electric open-pit mine.
With the environmental decree now in place, Nouveau Monde has the operational criteria and final design parameters to launch construction activities at Matawinie.
Over the past months, the company worked with various authorities through a new coordination table set up by the Québec government, to prepare the permitting process.
Early works at the mining site are expected to start as of second quarter of this year, with complete construction set for launch in the third quarter after finalisation of permits and authorisations.
Commissioning activities and start-up of commercial production are expected in 2023 to cater to the growing demand of battery manufacturers.
Nouveau Monde has also integrated new environmental initiatives such as integrated onsite water management system, co-disposal of tailings and waste rock, progressive land reclamation and all-electric fleet, to limit the project’s footprint.
Nouveau Monde president and CEO Eric Desaulniers said: “With this green light to launch our Matawinie project, we plan to bring to market a responsibly extracted high-purity graphite to supply EV and energy storage sectors with a local and sustainable alternative.”
The company has already validated its process for desulphurisation of tailings through its demonstration operations and constructed a co-disposal experimental cell in partnership with Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT).
For long-term sustainability, the co-disposal storage facility will also have a capillary barrier effect multi-layer cover to block oxygen.
Additionally, SNC-Lavalin, Lamont Expert, Minesite Drainage Assessment Group and the National Research Council of Canada performed modelling analysis of Nouveau Monde’s co-disposal design.