Tag Archives: Eric Desaulniers

Nouveau Monde Graphite turns to Metso Outotec for key Matawinie processing equipment

Nouveau Monde Graphite has launched civil construction works at its flagship Matawinie graphite mining project in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Québec, having steadily advanced detailed engineering and engaged in the procurement of key service providers, long-lead equipment and contractors to deliver the project, billed as a “zero-emission mine”, in Québec by the end of 2023.

One of these service providers has been confirmed as Metso Outotec, which has been engaged to supply key mineral processing equipment required for the Matawinie concentrator plant for high-purity graphite flake production.

The agreement with the OEM will support the development of design and integration efficiencies through process equipment chain optimisation objectives, NMG said. It also seeks to promote planning efforts, optimisation of the project cost curve and support the company during the construction, commissioning and operation phases.

“This agreement complements Nouveau Monde’s de-risking strategy and helps ensure a rapid progression of final design elements and construction of the ore processing facility,” the company added.

Following the governmental authorisation of the project in February, Nouveau Monde executed its phased program to initiate preliminary works in March. For the site preparation of the mine industrial platform and the access road connecting the project to the local highway, tree clearing was completed before the nesting season to limit impacts to avifauna.

To protect the environment and the community’s well-being, Nouveau Monde has developed an environmental surveillance and monitoring program to oversee the construction, operation and closure activities of the Matawinie project. Nouveau Monde has hired an environmental coordinator to support construction and environmental monitoring activities on-site and enlisted third-party biologists to conduct inspections for the presence of vulnerable species.

Nouveau Monde is also delivering on its commitment to maximise local opportunities and support service providers by engaging with Atikamekw, local and regional contractors and service providers via dedicated activities related to its construction procurement strategy, the associated business opportunities, as well as health, environment and safety requirements for bidding.

The company has retained mining contractor L Fournier & Fils to build the access road connecting the main Highway 131 to Matawinie’s industrial platform. Works for the 7.8-km access road began in July as part of the company’s 30-month construction and commissioning timeline. Construction of the access road is scheduled to be completed in September 2021 to facilitate subsequent civil works and on-site activities.

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: “This first milestone kick starts the construction of the Matawinie mine, as we strive to build the high-quality, ethical and sustainable project that can cater to the growing electric vehicle and energy storage markets. We have spent the past months refining our execution plan to carry out engineering, procurement and construction activities safely and with a focus on cost and timeline efficiency. I am confident in the expertise of the technical team that we have assembled, coupled with the support of Tier 1 service providers such as Metso Outotec, L Fournier & Fils and many local contractors, to deliver on our commitments of safety, responsible practices and excellence.”

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, the mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Cat to use NMG’s Matawinie graphite mine as ‘zero-emission machine’ testbed

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Caterpillar have signed an agreement pursuant to which Caterpillar will develop, test and produce Cat® “zero-emission machines” for the Matawinie graphite mine, in Quebec, Canada, with a view to becoming the exclusive supplier of an all-electric mining fleet for deployment at the mine by 2028.

Looking to accelerate and tailor the equipment development, Caterpillar will engage with Nouveau Monde’s team to incorporate “voice of customer” throughout the development, and for testing of the zero-emission fleet and infrastructure prior to commercial production, the companies said.

To this point, Caterpillar has only disclosed the development of a battery-electric 15 t LHD, the R1700 XE, however it came to light just over a year ago that the OEM was working on a separate project called ‘Project Verde’.

Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, Caterpillar Inc, previously stated on Project Verde: “Caterpillar has responded to customers by launching a project that is focused on energy and emissions reduction, and helping customers decrease their carbon footprints through machinery and power solutions that contribute to lower greenhouse gas.”

Speaking about the latest agreement between NMG and Cat, Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, commented: “I recall our first meeting with Caterpillar some two years ago, outlining our vision of a zero-emission mine in Québec. Our commitment to this vision has taken us to this very important moment, not only for Nouveau Monde, but for the global mining industry as a whole. Today, alongside Caterpillar, which in my opinion is the most trusted and reputable supplier of heavy-mining equipment worldwide, we can bring the zero-emission machines vision into reality.

“I think it is remarkable that Nouveau Monde, as a representative for the new style green resources industry, is part of spearheading the electrification of the industry, by collaborating with Caterpillar.”

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “We are proud to be a driving force for our peers as we strive to electrify our operations to meet our carbon neutrality commitments while maintaining the productivity and efficiency standards of our mining operations. Even more gratifying and important to our corporate mission is that our project can serve as a springboard for the future of the mining industry by collaborating with Caterpillar on these cutting-edge technologies.”

Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President, said: “The collaboration between Caterpillar and Nouveau Monde marks an important milestone in the mining industry. Through integrated technology, machines and services, the entire Caterpillar team is proud to support Nouveau Monde as they work towards constructing and establishing their first zero-emission mine.”

In November last year, NMG issued an “international call for pre-qualification” related to the fleet and charging infrastructure at Matawinie following work by the company’s International Task Force Committee. This work had allowed Nouveau Monde to explore “technologies, best practices and operational parameters to bring its vision to life in a cost-effective and technologically advanced way”.

As part of this pre-qualification program, companies were able to submit detailed proposals and performance specifications from their production equipment solutions between November 30 and January 30, 2021.

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc – both companies in Nouveau Monde’s taskforce committee – came up with the fleet outline at Matawinie.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” the report read.

The mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was also expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Nouveau Monde receives provincial green light for Matawinie graphite mine build

Following a rigorous environmental review, the Québec Government has issued a ministerial decree authorising Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc’s Matawinie mining project for a 100,000 t/y high-purity graphite concentrate production.

Located only 150 km north of Montréal, the company’s deposit constitutes the largest projected graphite operation in North America and Europe and is expected to become the world’s first all-electric open-pit mine, Nouveau Monde says.

“Since filing its bankable feasibility study, Nouveau Monde has invested time and effort to meticulously plan mining and environmental engineering, master the ore metallurgical process to reach 97% purity after simple flotation, de-risk its operation through its demonstration plant, and actively engage with the local community of St-Michel-des-Saints to secure a social licence to operate and with the Atikamekw First Nation,” the company said.

The environmental decree now provides Nouveau Monde with the operational criteria and final design parameters to launch construction activities.

It plans to start early works at the mining site as of the June quarter, and full construction is expected to be launched in the September quarter once permits and authorisations are finalised. The project timeline places commissioning activities and start-up of commercial production in 2023.

Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, said: “Today’s milestone is something we have worked towards as a team since the outset in 2011. After a decade of meticulous planning, we can now commence the mine construction of our world-class Matawinie graphite project. We are most grateful for the continued support Nouveau Monde has received from the Québec Government and our partnership with Investissement Québec as well as the backing from our local host communities – all being important stakeholders of this success.

“We will exercise our mandate in the spirit of cooperation, sustainability and benefit sharing for all parties involved. The creation of the Western World’s largest anode-quality graphite mine will assist positioning Québec as the prime location for the North American battery materials hub – supplying the continent with the critical anode and cathode materials required for the batteries needed for the global electrification of mobility.”

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “With this green light to launch our Matawinie project, we plan to bring to market a responsibly extracted high-purity graphite to supply electric vehicles and energy storage sectors with a local and sustainable alternative. Doing so will position Nouveau Monde as a leading anode material provider for decades to come, creating opportunities and unlocking value for all parties involved.”

Nouveau Monde is working towards developing an operation that can provide the volumes required by major auto original equipment manufacturers and battery manufacturers; the most recent estimates indicate 120.3 Mt combined measured and indicated resources at a 4.26% Cg grade. Geological knowledge of the Matawinie property, paired with experience in extracting and concentrating the ore at the company’s demonstration plant, have significantly de-risked the project.

Nouveau Monde has also integrated forward looking and innovative environmental initiatives to limit the project’s footprint and protect local biodiversity, namely:

  • Integrated onsite water management system guaranteeing constant monitoring and treatment that meet the highest quality standards;
  • Co-disposal of tailings and waste rock in line with requirements of the best practices such as The Global Tailings Review, the International Network for Acid Prevention and the Canadian Mine Environment Neutral Drainage Program. This management solution helps avoid acid mine drainage, provides greater environmental safety in the long term and reduces the infrastructure’s footprint;
  • Progressive land reclamation through backfilling of the pit and a comprehensive restoration plan; and
  • An all-electric fleet – a world’s first for an open-pit mine – powered by Québec’s clean, abundant, and affordable hydroelectricity.

Through its demonstration operations, Nouveau Monde has already validated its process for desulphurisation of tailings and completed the construction of a co-disposal experimental cell through a collaborative partnership with Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Over the life of mine, the company intends to implement this system through a co-disposal pile and backfilling of the pit as of year six, promoting thereby the restoration of the natural ecosystem while reducing environmental risks. To ensure long-term sustainability, the co-disposal storage facility will also include a capillary barrier effect multi-layer cover to block oxygen and vegetate the site.

SNC-Lavalin, Lamont Expert, Minesite Drainage Assessment Group and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada have conducted modelling analysis of Nouveau Monde’s co-disposal design to study critical design parameters on sulphide oxidation reaction rates and optimise configurations of the pit backfill and co-disposal pile.

Recently the company has expanded the mandate of NRC to simulate additional site-specific pile design parameters, like compaction level, using Nouveau Monde’s demonstration plant tailings and test cell results. NRC will expand the model developed in earlier phases and provide the company with a strong tool to optimise tailings deposition plans.

Nouveau Monde Graphite advances Matawinie electrification strategy

Nouveau Monde Graphite says it has mandated Hydro-Québec to carry out a preliminary project encompassing the development, installation and operation of a 120 kV electrical line that will supply its Matawinie mine site and help the company meet its carbon-neutrality targets.

The goal is to connect the Matawinie project mine and concentrator, in Quebec, Canada, to the power network via a dedicated line that will enable the full electrification of its operations – a world first for an open-pit mine, according to NMG.

During the design phase, the technical, financial and environmental aspects, as well as the construction schedule, will be defined for the line. Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest electricity producer and one of the world’s largest producers of hydroelectricity, will begin its studies and then issue public communications about the project in the coming months. The 120 kV line is expected to be powered up for the start of the mine’s operations in 2022, NMG said.

NMG said: “With its dedication to stringent sustainable development standards, Nouveau Monde is committed to having both its heavy equipment used for mining operations and its ore concentration and processing activities become fully electric within the first five years of production.”

The planned electrical line will supply power to support this operating model, which will reduce the CO2 emissions of the mine by more than 300,000 t over its lifetime, the company added.

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.”

Desaulniers added that the company is having “positive discussions with commercial partners” to develop an electric fleet that is adapted to its property’s open-pit mining conditions.

The detailed engineering work is progressing in line with these goals.

“From mine planning to shift scheduling that takes into account recharge cycles, Nouveau Monde and its consultants are reinventing industry conventions to create the mine of the future,” it said.

NMG and Hydro-Québec have already partnered to research and develop graphite anode materials used to make lithium-ion batteries. The graphite developer also holds an operating licence from Hydro-Québec’s Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage to commercialise battery material technologies and position Quebec in the lithium-ion battery value chain.

Matawinie, in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Quebec, is expected to start up in 2022. A 2018 feasibility study revealed strong economics for the project, with projected high-quality graphite concentrate of 100,000 t/y over a 26-year period.

SNC-Lavalin to lead on engineering, procurement for NMG’s graphite plant build

Nouveau Monde Graphite has awarded SNC-Lavalin, in partnership with Seneca and Boucher-Lachance Architects, the contract for detailed engineering and procurement services for the construction of its concentrator as part of its Matawinie graphite project, in Quebec, Canada.

Engineering work is already underway to complete priority activities by the end of the December quarter of 2019, including the process review, a Class 2 estimate, and a risk and opportunity assessment to optimise infrastructure design and generate savings, NMG said.

In 2015, Nouveau Monde discovered a graphite deposit on its Matawinie property, located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150 km north of Montréal. It completed a feasibility study in 2018, which revealed strong economics with projected high-quality graphite concentrate production level of 100,000 t/y over a 26-year period.

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: “With an impressive track record in concentrator design, procurement and project management in Quebec, the selected firms will facilitate the commissioning of commercial operations to supply the market with high-quality graphite.”

The entire project will be carried out in virtual design & construction (VDC), enabling integrated and dynamic modelling of the building information modelling (BIM) engineering for the concentrator, according to NMG.

“This innovative platform will facilitate the transfer from engineering to construction and then to operation,” the company added.

NMG’s master team, part of the management team and composed of senior specialists with several decades of experience each, will act as experts to validate the engineering, the procurement strategy and the technical specifications for the equipment, it said.

The engineering work will also take advantage of process optimisations identified at the Matawinie demonstration plant (pictured), which has been operational for one year. With a few hundred tonnes of graphite concentrate produced to date, the operation has demonstrated exceptional ore quality and a high-performance process to achieve a graphite purity of 97% on average and up to 99% for the largest flakes, according to NMG.

Nouveau Monde leverages this production, which is segregated into several granulometric categories ranging from flakes of more than 0.3 mm (+50 mesh) to the finest products of less than 0.1 mm (-150 mesh), to supply potential customers with samples so they can test the concentrate and confirm their commercial intentions. The demonstration plant will also be the preferred training platform for future Nouveau Monde employees to accelerate the start-up of operations thanks to process knowledge and hands-on experience with similar equipment.

Desaulniers concluded: “Nouveau Monde’s mining project has really taken off in recent months now that we have a solid foundation for our Matawinie graphite project. Our demonstration plant has validated the effectiveness of our treatment process, which is now being optimised by our team of experts in anticipation of the commercial plant. Next year promises more achievements as we complete the design of our operation, reserve key equipment and crystallise our customer base.”

Nouveau Monde Graphite’s all-electric Matawinie mine plan stacks up

Quebec, Canada-based Nouveau Monde Graphite’s latest economic study on the West Zone deposit of the Tony Claim Block, part of its Matawinie graphite property, in Saint-Michel-Des-Saints, has shown an all-electric open-pit mine can be built that delivers ample shareholder returns and the reduced carbon footprint the company was after.

The feasibility study builds on a prefeasibility study that envisaged a 52,000 t/y graphite concentrate operation being built for C$179 million ($137 million) for a post-tax internal rate of return of 25.9%.

The latest study has upped the production ante – looking at a 100,000 t/y concentrate operation over 25.5 years – as well as the potential shareholder returns. The feasibility study estimates the mine can be built for C$276 million, can operate at a cash operating cost of C$499/t and bring in a 32.2% after-tax IRR based on a life-of-mine average sales price of $1,730/t.

These results have proven so favourable the company is already set on completing the project’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, in addition to starting the engineering, procurement, construction and management phase. This could see the mill constructed in 2020 and production starting in 2022.

Met-Chem, a division of DRA Americas, prepared this latest study, which has fleshed out some of the company’s plans for an all-electric open-pit mine.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” Nouveau Monde said.

The mine will also use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant, according to the company.

Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc were responsible for developing the technology used in this fleet. The two companies, part of Nouveau Monde’s Task Force Committee for the project, assisted Met-Chem in preparing a fully-electric equipment fleet estimate. This information was then passed onto a mining contractor to establish a technical and commercial proposal for the mine operation on a contractual basis as well as on the basis of a fully-electric equipment fleet, Nouveau Monde said.

Nouveau Monde’s COO, Karl Trudeau previously told IM that Doppelmayr Canada would supply the company with ore handling solutions (RailCon® technology), while a mobile charging station, including fast-charging capability of up to 600 kW,  was to be positioned in the pit to charge the trucks and other equipment.

In addition to the eco-friendly nature of the mining fleet, the company has also looked to reduce the footprint of the mine’s infrastructure.

The processing plant and the co-disposal of tailings and waste rock will be located less than 500 m from the mine to minimise truck cycle times and lower the project’s operating costs, while progressive backfilling of waste rock and tailings will take place to “further minimise the project’s environmental footprint”, while allowing site rehabilitation during the operating life of the mine. The mine waste rock and tailings management plan, as well as the water management infrastructure, was designed by SNC-Lavalin.

The flowsheet for the 2.35 Mt/y mine consists of in-pit crushing, followed by multiple steps of grinding and flotation separation circuits. The graphite concentrate is then filtered, dried and classified to recover over 94% of the graphite and produce four products with various flake sizes, all with finished product purity above 97%.

Eric Desaulniers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nouveau Monde, said: “We have designed a state-of-the-art mine that not only maximises efficiency but also aims to be one of the most eco-friendly mines in the world, having a very low carbon footprint relative to our peers. This is a key product differentiator, especially for our electric vehicle manufacturing customers whose environmental and social acceptability values align perfectly with our own.”

Karl Trudeau, Chief Operating Officer, Nouveau Monde Graphite; Michel Serres, VP Mining Solutions North America, ABB Canada and David Lyon, Business Development Manager, MEDATECH will be presenting ‘The NMG journey to the all-electric open-pit mine: innovation from collaboration’ at The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, Canada, on April 4-5, 2019. For more information about the event, please click here.