Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. is pleased to announce the completion of several milestones regarding the construction of its demonstration plant ("Demo Plant").
The significant achievements include; finalizing the Demo Plant engineering study, obtaining the financing and securing the authorizations and permits necessary for the completion of the first phase of the Demo Pant project. In addition, starting this November, Nouveau Monde has signed a short-term lease with Louisiana Pacific, owners of the building that will house the Demo Plant. The lease agreement includes access to a 40,000 square-foot area within the building. The Louisiana-Pacific plant is located 6 km from the West Zone of Nouveau Monde's graphite deposit.
Nouveau Monde recently completed an in-house engineering study on its Demo Plant in conjunction with independent engineering firms including, MET-Pro, SNC-Lavallin and WSP, as well as industry experts at Nouveau Monde, who have 30 years of cumulative graphite market experience. The team of experts was led by Karl Trudeau and Alain Mercier. This engineering study details the project's strategy and implementation plan. The Demo Plant will have two years of service life and the annual production capacity of 1,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate including 250 tonnes of battery grade graphite. A 40,000 tonnes bulk sample, collected from the Matawinie graphite Propertie's West Zone deposit, is expected to provide the ore necessary to feed the Demo Plant.
The bulk sample will be extracted from a 3,000m2 area of the West Zone. The deforestation and stripping of this area began in mid-November 2017. Other deforestation activities are planned in 2018 to clear land in order to provide the necessary work area, overburden storage as well as host the tailing site.
The first blast for the bulk sample is planned for spring of 2018. Blasting and subsequent transport of the ore is expected to occur during a five-day period at every three months over two years. The existing road network will be used to transport the ore.
The Demo Plant, which will include a complete natural graphite processing chain, aims to carry out a first transformation of the ore by liberating and concentrating the natural graphite flakes. Purchase orders for long lead processing equipment have been placed with the suppliers. This first phase of graphite concentrate production is planned for the summer of 2018. A second transformation of the graphite concentrate is also planned for a subsequent phase in order to produce value-added products such as purified spheronized graphite (SPG) and Anode Material (AM). Our experts are currently testing necessary equipment for value-added products with vendors and finalizing the flowsheet before a more precise date on this subsequent phase can be committed in the Demo plant.
Applications for permits and certificates of authorization are planned in two phases. The first phase (Phase 1) involves the stripping and storage of the overburden and the second phase (Phase 2) deals with the bulk sample, the Demo Plant operation and the tailings and water management.
The current deforestation and stripping work is covered under the Phase 1 permitting which has been granted by the Québec government. The planned Phase 2 work is conditional on obtaining the necessary authorizations and permits. A restoration plan has been submitted to provide a financial guarantee for the restoration of the site following the field operations.
Nouveau Monde has raised the necessary funding required for the field work as well as for the preparation and installation of the flotation circuit which will enable the test production of graphite concentrate. The investments needed to achieve this first phase are $12.7M (CAD).
Both the development of the Demo Plant project and its implementation are subject to the rigorous principles of sustainable development that frame all of Nouveau Monde's actions. For example, some components of the project were developed in collaboration with project stakeholders, including the accompanying committee. Discussions and collaboration with the Stakeholder Committee and Nouveau Monde resulted in the integration of several mitigating measures into the design of the Demo Plant project, including:
- The adoption of a work schedule limiting the impact of ore transportation on traffic and noise, i.e., a stoppage of work during:
- Weekends, Fridays afternoons and evenings;
- The holiday season and spring break of the local school board;
- Construction holidays and the moose hunting season.
- The use of dust suppressants on the gravel section of the municipal road to control dust during transportation periods.
In addition, Nouveau Monde intends to maximize the positive impacts of the Demo Plant project by working with local entrepreneurs and hiring regional labor, including from the Atikamekw community of Manawan. As an example, the blasting pattern for the bulk sample has been modified to reduce particle size thereby allowing local contractors to qualify for bids.
Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde started, "The start of construction of our Demo Plant is an exciting time for Nouveau Monde stakeholders including our employees, shareholders and the local community. All stand to benefit from this project as we start our first phase of production of graphite concentrate and later value-added battery grade graphite products."
About Nouveau Monde's Demo Plant
Nouveau Monde's Demo Plant will be built on an existing industrial property in Saint-Michel-des-Saints and will have a gross ore feed capacity of 3.5 t / h to produce a graphite concentrate, purified spheronized graphite as well as micronized graphite. The plant will be operating on a 5-day-a-week basis, 24 hours a day. Its expected operational life is about two years. Il will be fed by ore from the nearby West Zone deposit located on Nouveau Monde's Matawinie graphite property.
It is not expected that the Demo Plant provide any profitability from this operation. However the Demo Plant will provide the following benefits:
- allowing to qualify Nouveau Monde's products with customers;
- testing and improving the graphite concentrate process prior to its commercial design;
- developing value-added graphite products;
- testing new innovative mining waste management methods and site restoration technologies;
- to begin employees' training and raise local youth awareness of future job opportunities;
- demystifying mining operations for the local entrepreneurs and community members.
About Nouveau Monde Graphite
In 2015, Nouveau Monde discovered a graphite deposit on its Tony claims block, part of its fully owned Matawanie graphite property. This discovery recently gave rise to the publication of results from a Prefeasibility Study (PFS), released on October 25, 2017 by Nouveau Monde. This PFS demonstrated strong economics with a planned production of 52,000 tpy of high purity flake graphite concentrate, and a mine life of 27 years. The Probable Mineral Reserves, identified over the West Zone of the Tony Block totals 33.0 Mt grading 4.39 % Cg. These Reserves are prepared in accordance with Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Definitions Standards for mineral resources in concordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The Matawinie graphite project is located in the municipality of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, approximately 150 km north of Montreal. It benefits from direct access to a workforce and the appropriate infrastructure to operate, including abundant and renewable hydroelectric resources. Nouveau Monde's team members are developing this project with the outmost respect for the neighboring communities, while targeting a low environmental impact footprint.
The technical information in this news release was prepared by Antoine Cloutier, P. Geo and chief geologist for Nouveau Monde. Mr. Cloutier is a Qualified Persons under National Instrument 43-101.