Nouveau Monde Graphite (TSX-V: NOU) (OTCQX: NMGRF) (Frankfurt: NM9) is pleased to have delivered on its commitment to advance its vertically-integrated graphite project in order to offer the electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors, ethically-sourced and carbon-neutral, lithium-ion battery anode material by 2023.
Eric Desaulniers, the Company’s President and CEO, stated: “2020 was a transformational year for Nouveau Monde. We accomplished much in all departments, R&D, sales & marketing, operations and corporate development. I want to thank all of my team members and all stakeholders, as it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to transition the Company from a junior mining company with a natural graphite deposit, to a fully-integrated, carbon-neutral, battery anode materials producer. Thanks to the professionalism of the entire team, I’m particularly proud that we were successful at achieving very specific and important operational milestones at our Saint-Michel-des-Saints plant safely, without injuries, while maintaining our employees health during these difficult pandemic times. By this time next year, the Company will look much different: we will be operating our purification furnaces at Bécancour, producing high-quality anode material destined to the EV market; we will be in construction of the mine and commercial facilities for the entire operation, and as for potential partnerships, we are eager to advance discussions and complete a partnership with a lead client in the LiB market. 2021 will be another remarkable year.”
In January, Nouveau Monde signed a collaboration and benefit-sharing agreement with the Saint-Michel-des-Saints and Upper Matawanie community. Recognising the importance of our local stakeholders, the agreement is the most progressive of its kind in Quebec’s history. The agreement covers the mine’s entire commercial operating life and will see Nouveau Monde contribute up to 2% of its net cash flow after taxes to the municipality to boost community development and reinvestment. Nouveau Monde will also contribute 1% of its net cash flow after taxes to a Community Fund to stimulate developmental projects in Upper Matawinie that have a social, economic and environmental impact during and beyond the mine’s operating period. The bilateral agreement includes concrete actions in the areas of training, employability and business opportunities for the local population; the integration of the mining project into the territory through recreation and tourism development; and collaboration mechanisms to provide short-, medium- and long-term benefits for the community.
In February, the Company successfully commissioned its demonstration micronisation and spheronisation operations and confirmed that the graphite concentrate from its Matawinie deposit is attractive for use in lithium-ion batteries. This has been confirmed through ongoing potential customer discussions for pre-qualification.
Also in Q1, the Company announced an updated NI43-101 pit-constrained Mineral Resource Estimate for its West Zone Deposit, located in the Tony Claim Block, which is part of its flagship Matawinie graphite property, with an increase of 25% in the combined Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource categories. Matawinie has 120.3 million tonnes @ 4.26% Cg, and as the largest graphite project in North America with significant expansion potential in other Zones on the property, Nouveau Monde is well-positioned to be a key supplier to meet the future growth of the electric vehicle market.
In July, Nouveau Monde received a positive evaluation from the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (“BAPE”) regarding its Matawanie project, and all aspects including the economic, environmental and social parameters developed by Nouveau Monde. The report recognized the economic justification, environmental innovations, integration measures and social benefits associated with the mining project.
In September, Nouveau Monde announced sales across North America, Europe and Asia, an important step in the commercialisation of our advanced carbon-neutral materials. In response to growing interaction with major EV companies and other major potential customers, Nouveau Monde opened a European sales office, in London, United Kingdom.
In October, Nouveau Monde announced two significant industry partnerships. The first, a multi-phase partnership with global chemical major, Olin Corporation, for its proprietary purification demonstration plant in Bécancour that will be commissioned by mid-2021, and later, for the commercial battery anode purification operations in 2023, when significant global battery-grade natural graphite shortages are expected to emerge. The second, a collaboration with US-based Forge Nano, an advanced nano-coating company backed by industry leaders such as Volkswagen, LG Technology Ventures and Mutsui. Through the application of Forge Nano’s proprietary Atomic Layer Deposition (“ALD”) coating technology, we expect Nouveau Monde to be able to offer a premium product to the lithium-ion battery market.
In November, Nouveau Monde was twice selected as a key partner by the Quebec Government for its electrification and critical minerals strategy. The first, as partner to the Quebec and Canadian Governments to showcase all-electric open-pit mining equipment, leveraging Quebec’s clean and affordable hydropower. The second, to drive the implementation of the Global Battery Alliance’s (“GBA”) Battery Passport principles in Quebec, guaranteeing the traceability and sustainability of strategic minerals. The GBA includes members such as Audi, BMW Group, Google, Groupe Renault, Honda Motors, the International Energy Agency, LG Chem, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Corp., Propulsion Québec, Saft, SK Innovation, the United Nations Environment Programme, Umicore, Volkswagen, Volvo Group and the project positions Nouveau Monde well for future product commercialisation.
Throughout the year, Nouveau Monde showcased the results of its world-leading research and development consortium. In September, the Company announced an important technological breakthrough in its silicon-enhanced graphite anode material with improved performance characteristics. Then in November, the Company announced its proprietary coating process had outperformed the industry-leading Asian peers, establishing Nouveau Monde as a future producer of advanced and premium battery anode materials.
Finally in November, as a world first for open-pit mining, Nouveau Monde delivered on its commitment to the exclusive use of all-electrical equipment and vehicles in its mining operations; the Company advanced its procurement process for its fleet and charging infrastructure through an international call for pre-qualification, which has already resulted in significant global interest from high-profile industry participants.
As at December 16, Nouveau Monde had received CAD$3,185,895 from the exercise of 9,195,414 options and warrants, which is indicative of the strong share price performance as the Company advances, and will further support development activities in 2021.
Arne H. Frandsen, the Company’s Chairman, stated: “I took over the Chairmanship in 2020, and it is with pride I look back to the achievements of our highly skilled team of world-class professionals. Through the unprecedented year of uncertainty and pain caused by COVID 19, I want, on behalf of the board, to thank all of our team members for their exceptional contribution and continued dedication. Nouveau Monde has demonstrated global leadership and innovation, as we successfully move forward towards becoming a world-leader in high quality responsibly-sourced green battery anode material. Please accept our best wishes of a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2021.”
Nouveau Monde Graphite is set to become a key operator in the sustainable energy revolution. The Company is developing the only fully integrated source of green battery anode material in the Western World. Targeting full-scale commercial operations by early 2023, the Company will provide advanced carbon-neutral graphite-based material solutions to the growing lithium-ion and fuel cell markets. With low-cost operations and the highest of ESG standards, Nouveau Monde Graphite will become a strategic supplier to the world’s leading battery– and automakers, ensuring robust and reliable advanced material while guaranteeing supply chain traceability.
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