NMG strikes major deals to push graphite extraction for Panasonic and GM

Canada's Nouveau Monde Graphite has concluded binding offtake agreements with Tesla's battery partner Panasonic and General Motors for anode material. The new clients also agreed to raise capital for the raw materials company.

Image: Nouveau Monde Graphite

Starting with Panasonic, the Japanese battery maker agreed to invest $25 million in NMG to support their operations, which are currently being built up in line with refined specifications. Panasonic expects to finance NMG further with potential co-investors up to $150 million.

Nouveau Monde Graphite intends to extract the graphite from its Matawinie mine in Quebec and plans to process it at its Bécancour Battery Material Plant in the same province. 

The contract with Panasonic provides for the purchase of 18,000 tonnes per year over seven years and follows a letter of intent concluded between the two companies in autumn 2022. 

Arne H Frandsen, Chair of NMG, called Panasonic Energy “a true partner”. He added, “This galvanising offtake agreement, topped with a substantial investment strategy, is set to propel NMG through the last few steps before a final investment decision.”

The announcement coincides with a similar deal between NMG and GM. The Canadian miner will supply 18,000 tonnes of graphite annually to the carmaker over six years, not seven. The two contracts cover around 85 per cent of NMG’s planned production.

Like Panasonic, GM also entered into a so-called subscription agreement with NMG in which GM committed an aggregate $150 million equity investment. The carmaker will also invest an initial $25 million to support the Matawinie Mine and the Bécancour Battery Material Plant.

NMG will transport natural graphite from the mine to the plant to be processed into active anode material before being delivered to battery cell plants for incorporation as batteries in GM’s EVs.

NMG’s Phase-2 plant is under construction within the same industrial park as GM and Posco’s future Cathode Active Material processing facility is currently being built under GM’s Ultium battery division.

Jeff Morrison, VP of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain at GM, called the collaboration “a milestone for the industry” and in GM’s “ongoing development of a more sustainable and resilient battery supply chain”. 

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President, and CEO of NMG, reiterated the company’s “sound business plan of becoming North America’s largest fully integrated natural graphite active anode material producer to serve the booming Western battery and EV market.”

The partners quote a Benchmark Mineral Intelligence report estimating that 95% of the anode side of EV batteries is made from graphite, making it the most demanded raw material of all battery metals). 

Both contracts with GM and Panasonic include an agreed-upon price formula linked to future prevailing market prices and a pricing mechanism to satisfy project financing ratios and ensure stable procurement.

Localised supply chains are also required for federal funding through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). On that note, GM also signed a multi-billion supply agreement with LG Chem this month. The company will supply GM with over 500,000 tonnes of cathode material from its Tennessee plant between 2026 and 2035, enough to produce around five million electric cars with a range of about 500 kilometres.

Panasonic, too, made announcements to this effect in February and signed a binding purchase deal with battery materials company Novonix for the supply of synthetic graphite. The deal provides for at least 10,000 tonnes over four years starting in 2025. The timeline fits in with Panasonic’s second North American battery plant currently under construction in Kansa. It is scheduled to produce battery cells in March 2025, in addition to Giga Nevada, which Panasonic runs with Tesla to produce 2170 round cells.

nmg.com (Panasonic), nmg.com (General Motors), nmg.com (Investments)


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