The company is currently planning what it is hoping will be the largest fully integrated anode material production facility in North America, and aims to be the largest producer of the materials in the western world.
The initial phase of its complex, known as the Bécancour VAP project, is under construction with a nameplate capacity of 2 kilotonnes annually and is projected to come online in the coming 12 months.
For phase 2, the company has acquired a 200,000-square-metre parcel in the Bécancour industrial park that is adjacent to phase 1.
Nouveau Monde said front-end loading engineering analysis (FEL-1) for the newest phase is complete. It has been designed for 60kt per year of flake graphite from the company's Matawinie mineral project, or from third-party sources.
With that supply feed, the company will produce approximately 42kty of anode material, 3kt/y of purified flakes and 14kt/y of micronised graphite. The company said the facility has the potential with phase 2 working at full capacity to record US$200 million in annual operating profit.
FEL-2, or the project's front-end loading pre-feasibility engineering analysis, has begun and should be completed within a year. Nouveau Monde is targeting the March quarter of 2025 for commissioning of phase 2.
President and CEO Eric Desaulniers said it has worked for five years to bring the facility to reality.
"This next phase will continue to comply with Nouveau Monde's high ESG standards and will benefit from Québec's green and inexpensive hydroelectricity as our exclusive energy source," he noted.
"It is essential for North America to develop a fully integrated supply chain of high-quality battery materials that are produced at meaningful scale, with the lowest carbon footprint, with strict traceability compliance while maintaining cost competitiveness at all times."
Given the strong economics revealed in the FEL-1, Nouveau Monde said, it expects the FEL-2 pre-feasibility study to be completed in the first half of 2022.