The companies stated that the agreement will leverage Nouveau Monde's and Lithion's proprietary processes and expertise to promote graphite circularity and better position both companies in the evolving global market.
They added that the local, Canadian, and North American ecosystem in the strategic minerals, battery materials and electrification sectors could be strengthened by the development of a cost-effective technical and commercial solution for recycled graphite.
Eric Desaulniers, founder, president and CEO of Nouveau Monde, explained: "Recycling battery materials is an essential component in the development of tomorrow's sustainable economy. As a producer of advanced graphite-based materials aiming to play a dominant role in the western world, Nouveau Monde is well positioned with its proposed operations and proprietary processes to play a key role in reconditioning value-added graphite back to its original characteristics to meet our customers' specific requirements.
"By working with Lithion, a world-class partner with recognised expertise, we are confident that we can define the optimal recovery and transformation solution thanks to our respective complementary technologies. Ultimately, the goal is to insert an increasing percentage of recycled material into our transformation process and, thus, potentially increase our overall production capacity, revenue, and margins, offer more sustainable solutions and challenge the established paradigm that the resource from our mining operation is inevitably non-renewable."
Lithion Recycling has developed an efficient and cost-effective process to recover strategic materials from end-of life and production waste of lithium-ion batteries. Lithion's process allows up to 95% of battery components to be recovered and treated so that they can be reused by battery manufacturers, enabling the close of the lifecycle in batteries. Lithion said this technology accelerates the transition to green energy and helps meet decarbonisation targets by reducing pressure on natural resource extraction.
In 2022-2023, Lithion plans to launch its first commercial recycling plant, drawing on operational data from a successful Quebec industrial-scale demonstration plant created in 2019.
Benoit Couture, founding president of Lithion, added: "Lithion's patented and patent-pending lithium-ion battery recycling technology has been optimised, thanks to our large-scale demonstration facility, with the vision of closing the loop on critical and strategic materials by reusing them in new battery materials.
"In parallel to the work currently being performed with partners at the cathode side with our recycled materials, we are thrilled to team up with Nouveau Monde Graphite's team of experts to define the optimal and most cost-effective way to introduce recycled graphite from our sustainable and low carbon footprint technology in new anode material for lithium-ion batteries. We focus on a synergistic and collaborative approach as well as our complementary skill sets to provide battery manufacturers with recycled graphite containing anode material."
Nouveau Monde is working towards developing a fully integrated source of green battery anode material in Quebec, Canada. The company is developing advanced carbon-neutral graphite-based material solutions for the growing lithium-ion and fuel cell markets, and is targeting commercial operations by 2023.
In March, the company completed a front-end loading engineering analysis (FEL-1) for Phase 2 of its large-scale commercial lithium-ion anode material project in Bécancour, Quebec; it plans to commence commissioning of the plant's first capacity in the first quarter of 2025.