Cleantech & EV'sNews

Tesla visits graphite mine and factory in Quebec

Tesla has recently visited Nouveau Monde’s graphite mine and processing factory in Quebec, as the automaker is increasingly looking to establish a factory in Canada.

Nouveau Monde Graphite is a Quebec-based company developing a graphite mine and processing facilities to supply automakers and battery manufacturers with the critical material for creating the anode part of a battery cell.

Their Matawinie project is located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints in Quebec, Canada – about two hours north of Montreal – and the company believes that it is sitting on the biggest graphite deposit in North America.

On top of mining their own graphite, Nouveau Monde is also working on a large anode material facility called the Bécancour Battery Material Plant.

It is located in Bécancour, Québec, which has been called “Québec’s Battery Valley,” as many companies working on battery materials have made significant investments there lately, including GM and Livent.

Interestingly, we reported in 2020 when Nouveau Monde created a funny video addressed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. It aimed at making Musk reach out to them about their graphite project; it took a few years, but it looks like Nouveau Monde finally got the attention of Tesla.

Electrek learned from sources familiar with the matter that Tesla recently paid a visit to Nouveau Monde’s mine and phase 1 of its processing plant.

We reached out to Nouveau Monde for comment on the Tesla visit, but the company said it couldn’t comment.

It comes as we just learned of a visit from Tesla in Canada to meet Vale’s nickel operations in the country, and a local media report stated that Tesla took the opportunity to scout factory sites in Quebec and Ontario at the same time.

Tesla, like many other automakers lately, has turned to Canada’s mineral resources to secure supply to build batteries and support their plan to rapidly increase electric vehicle production. When it comes to graphite, Tesla needs a significant amount to produce every vehicle.

As we previously reported, Tesla asked the US government to waive tariffs on graphite from China last year, claiming that it can’t get the mineral elsewhere; the request covered both artificial and natural graphite.

Furthermore, Tesla has indicated that it is working on new chemistry that it obtained through a startup acquisition that utilizes a new silicon in the anode to replace the graphite.

However, the automaker also said that it plans to use a variety of chemistries and cell supply in order to satisfy its rapidly growing need for battery cells as it ramps up battery-electric vehicle production.

Nouveau Monde Graphite claims that it can produce a 99.95% pure spheric graphite product that will be cheaper and cleaner than synthetic graphite from Asia, which often requires fossil fuels in the transformation process. The company is issuing clean hydroelectricity to produce its anode material in Quebec, and it plans to use electric vehicles to operate its mining operations.

Electrek’s Take

Obviously, again, I’m biased because I live in the area, but it would make a ton of sense for Tesla to establish a presence in Quebec – more specifically, in Mauricie or Centre-du-Quebec, where Bécancour is located.

Soon enough, there will be everything you need to build battery cells all at the same location and all from resources that are located within North America.

Especially with the new requirements about sourcing battery materials to get the new tax credit in the US, it makes trying to secure supply from Canada and “Quebec’s Battery Valley” the perfect location.

If Tesla doesn’t do it, somebody else will.

Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

Author: Fred Lambert
Source: Electrek

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