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Ottawa Valley graphite developer spies Quebec for processing plant

Northern Graphite signs land deal for Baie Comeau port property
Baie Comeau port (Innovation et Developpement Manicouagan photo)

An Ottawa-based graphite company, with a deposit between North Bay and Ottawa, is purchasing land on the St. Lawrence River to build a battery anode manufacturing plant.

Northern Graphite, which holds with Bissett Creek deposit located off Highway 17, signed a letter of intent with the city of Baie Comeau, Que. to purchase a 300-acre brownfield property for US$1.2 million. 

Subject to securing financing and government approvals, the company wants to build a hub processing capable of processing 200,000 tonnes a year for its three graphite properties in Ontario, Quebec and Namibia. The intent is to supply anode material to lithium-ion battery manufacturing plants throughout North America. 

Northern Graphite holds three graphite projects, the Lac des Iles mine in Quebec, Bissett Creek, and the Okorusu processing plant and the Okanjande mine in Namibia.

Bissett Creek is a mine-ready project situated 17 kilometres off the Trans-Canada Highway. A feasibility study for an open-pit mine was completed on the property in 1989 but it was never developed due to a drop in graphite prices.

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“This is a big step forward in our strategy to be an integrated, sustainable, cost-effective mine-to-market supplier to the booming EV battery manufacturing market and a key player in North America’s critical minerals strategy,” said Northern CEO Hugues Jacquemin in a June 29 news release.

“From here everything flows. We now know where the facility will be located, how much power it will require and where the power needs to go and can proceed with all the design and logistical work required to begin construction.”

The company said in the release that the Baie-Comeau plant will be one of the world’s largest conversion facilities, processing concentrates from Northern’s mines and from other mining operations that will be coming online.

The plant will have a low carbon footprint due to its access to hydroelectric power.

Baie-Comeau is located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City in the Cote-Nord economic region. It has direct access to the rest of North America by road, rail and a year-round deep water port. 

Northern Graphite estimates the price tag for the first phase of the plant at $500 million. The company is targeting completion in 2026, subject to regulatory approvals and funding from the province of Québec, the Canadian and U.S. governments, and assistance by the Manicouagan region and potential Plan Nord incentives.