Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. plans to commence sales of graphite concentrates from the Matawinie graphite project in Quebec in the first quarter, according to a Jan. 8 release.
The company said it anticipates product certification of graphite concentrate with key customers in 2019 and 2020 through production from the demonstration plant, which produced its first tonnes of bagged graphite products in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Nouveau Monde also seeks to file an environmental and social impact assessment with authorities in the first quarter to begin the process of obtaining licenses for the commercial operation.
As part of its 2019 plans for Matawinie, the company aims to build and commission a purified spherical graphite production demonstration plant targeting the lithium-ion battery market. The purification capacity can also be used to purify flakes of different sizes for niche markets.
A preliminary economic study is also expected to be published this year that outlines commercial production of 30,000 tonnes per year of purified value added spherical graphite.
In addition, Nouveau Monde intends to complete a detailed engineering phase for a pilot plant, and start detailed engineering for commercial mining.
An October 2018 feasibility study covering an all-electric open pit operation of Matawinie's West Zone deposit pegged an after-tax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of C$751 million, an internal rate of return of 32.2% and payback of 2.6 years.
The deposit hosts indicate graphite resources of 4.1 million tonnes contained within 95.8 million tonnes grading 4.28% graphitic carbon, according to a June 2018 estimate.