The goal is to connect the mine and concentrator at the Matawinie project, which is located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150km north of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, to the power network via a dedicated line that will enable the full electrification of its operations.
Hydro-Québec is a public utility company that generates, transports and distributes electricity in Quebec, as well as exporting power to parts of the northeast US. It is Canada's largest electricity producer and one of the world's largest producers of hydroelectricity.
Nouveau Monde stated that this arrangement is a world first for an open-pit mine.
During the design phase, the technical, financial and environmental aspects as well as the construction schedule will be defined for the line. Hydro-Québec will begin its studies and then issue public communications about the project in the coming months. The 120kV line is expected to be powered up for the start of the mine's operations in 2022.
Nouveau Monde said that it is committed to having its mining and processing equipment become fully electric within the first five years of the mine's production. The planned electrical line will supply power to support this operating model, which is projected to reduce the CO2 emissions of the mine by more than 300,000t over its lifetime.
Eric Desaulniers, president and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: "The preliminary project is an important step in our electrification strategy, as the power line will guarantee a reliable, affordable and dedicated supply of renewable energy. This will give us a competitive advantage that lets us bring to market a product with the smallest possible environmental footprint.
"In addition, we are having positive discussions with commercial partners to develop an electric fleet that is adapted to our property's open-pit mining conditions."
Nouveau Monde Graphite and Hydro-Québec already have a partnership to research and develop graphite anode materials that are used to make lithium-ion batteries.