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NextSource Sparks EV Revolution with Mauritius Graphite Plant

Expanding Battery-Grade Graphite Production for Global Demand

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

NextSource Materials Inc., a notable player in the mining sector, has recently taken a significant step forward by applying to establish a cutting-edge downstream battery anode facility (BAF) in Mauritius. This move is poised to position the company as a key supplier in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) battery market. The proposed plant aims to initially produce 3,600 tonnes of high-quality battery-grade graphite annually, with plans to expand its output to an impressive 14,400 tonnes after 2024. This ambitious expansion is detailed in the company’s filings with the Mauritian government, highlighting the strategic importance of this facility.

Mauritius, an African island nation, has been chosen as the site for this state-of-the-art facility. The graphite processed here will be sourced from NextSource’s Molo mine in Madagascar, underscoring the company’s commitment to leveraging African resources to meet global demands. The processed graphite will then be shipped from Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, which is strategically located in the freeport zone, facilitating efficient international distribution.

The decision to establish a battery anode facility comes at a crucial time. Recently, in October, China, a dominant player in the graphite market, announced that it would require export permits for the type of graphite used in EV batteries. This regulation has intensified the global race to secure stable and reliable sources of battery-grade graphite, making NextSource’s initiative even more significant.

Graphite is an essential component of lithium-ion batteries, which are pivotal in the transition to green energy and the powering of electric vehicles. According to the US Geological Survey, the demand for graphite is expected to surge, driven by the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries. Graphite is the primary ingredient by weight in these batteries, constituting over half of every battery and more than 95% of a battery’s anode.

NextSource Materials’ venture into processing battery-grade graphite in Mauritius is not just a business expansion; it’s a strategic move in the context of the global shift towards electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. The company’s efforts are aligned with initiatives like Washington’s Inflation Reduction Act, which encourages automakers to reduce reliance on Chinese components by sourcing materials from diverse global locations.

In its filings, NextSource emphasized the increasing demand for graphite, noting its wide range of applications beyond electric vehicles, including consumer electronics, green energy storage, and medical applications. The company’s foray into graphite production at its Molo mine in June 2023 marked a pivotal moment, underscoring the potential of African-mined graphite to meet the global demand.

Despite the abundance of graphite deposits, the availability of battery-grade material is much tighter, making NextSource’s project in Mauritius critically important. The company has outlined plans to achieve a production capacity of 17,000 tonnes of concentrate per annum at its Molo mine by July, further cementing its position as a significant contributor to the global supply of battery-grade graphite.

NextSource Materials’ initiative in Mauritius is set against a backdrop of increasing global demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy solutions. By establishing a battery anode facility that leverages African-mined graphite, the company is not only expanding its business footprint but also contributing to a sustainable future. This project promises to be a crucial link in the supply chain of battery-grade graphite, essential for powering the next generation of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage solutions.

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