Nextsource Materials has started the commissioning of its fully-owned Molo graphite mine located in the Toliara province located in southern Madagascar.

The Canada-based battery materials development company also said that the installation of the associated solar and battery facility for the hybrid power plant is underway.

In its phase 1, the Molo mine is anticipated to generate 17,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of flake graphite concentrate.

The plans for a significant expansion to 150,000tpa of graphite concentrate in phase 2 are well advanced, said Nextsource Materials.

Phase 1 of the Molo mine will utilise hybridised power solution. It consists of a thermal generation facility that has already commenced operation and a solar and battery facility.

The solar and battery facility involves a 2.6MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility and a 1MWh battery energy storage system.

Presently, the thermal facility meets all of the plant’s power requirement and once completed, the solar and battery facility is expected to deliver up to 33% of the graphite mine’s total electricity needs with clean energy.

According to Nextsource Materials, the hybrid power plant will mitigate carbon dioxide emissions by more than 11,300 tonnes per year.

Nextsource Materials president and CEO Craig Scherba said: “Commissioning of the Molo Graphite Mine is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of our employees and contractors who have brought this project from design through to implementation in the midst of a global pandemic and shifting geopolitical landscape.

“That hard work has placed the Company in an enviable position as it transitions into a global graphite producer at a time when graphite consumption is increasing dramatically due to the explosive growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries.”

Last month, the company announced the results of a technical study for its first battery anode facility located in Mauritius.

Nextsource Materials expects to commence production from the facility in Q2 2024, subject to the receipt of necessary funding and completion of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) process.