MRC unveils plan for Norway anode plant using Australia graphite

CBC Metal Time:Sep 22, 2020 17:54 Source:MINING WEEKLY

Australia-listed MRC on Monday outlined its plans to develop a vertically integrated graphite business, from mine to the production of active anode materials, announcing the outcomes of a prefeasibility study (PFS) to build a dedicated active anode materials plant (AAMP) in Norway.

The AAMP would initially be built to produce up to 10000 t/y of active anode material, supplied with high-grade graphite concentrate from MRC’s Skaland operations, in the northern part of Norway.

Production from Skaland would ramp up from 10 000 t/y in 2020 to 16000 t/y in 2023, to supply module one of the AAMP.

The AAMP would then be expanded through two additional 20 000 t modules to process graphite concentrate from MRC’s Munglinup operations, in Australia. The AAMP PFS assumes that Munglinup comes into production in 2025, with concentrate producing ramping up from 14200 t/y in 2025 to 45 000 t/y in 2026.

“Our strategy is highly complementary to the European policy agenda, where the strategic focus is on securing local critical raw material supply chains and delivering them sustainably. By building the AAMP in Norway we can leverage factors such as localisation, skilled labour, and low-cost renewable energy on the doorstep of the fastest adopters of zero-emission policies anywhere on the planet,” said executive chairperson Mark Caruso.

The PFS considers two alternative methods of purification to produce active anode material for batteries in electric vehicle and stationary uses – a caustic roast process and a carbochlorination process.

Both processes delivered compelling economic outcomes with the caustic process yielding a net present value, using a 7% discount, of $1-billion and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 67%. The carbochlorination process’s net present value was calculated at $1.07-billion and its IRR at 58%.

The development capital for the caustic downstream option is $1.6-billion and the carbo downstream option $1.2-billion. Either option will generate revenue of $4.68-billion over its operating life.

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