Nouveau Monde Graphite has secured an environmental decree from the Québec government that authorises the construction of the Matawinie mining project in the Canadian province.

The company aims to produce 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of high-purity graphite concentrate from the graphite mine located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150km north of Montréal.

The Canadian firm said that the environmental decree provides it with the operational criteria and final design parameters for starting construction activities.

Nouveau Monde chairman Arne Frandsen said: “After a decade of meticulous planning, we can now commence the mine construction of our world-class Matawinie graphite project.

“We are most grateful for the continued support Nouveau Monde has received from the Québec Government and our partnership with Investissement Québec as well as the backing from our local host communities – all being important stakeholders of this success.”

Nouveau Monde plans to begin early works at the Matawinie mine in the second quarter of this year. Full construction is anticipated to be launched in the following quarter after finalisation of permits and authorisations.

The Matawinie mining project is targeted to begin commercial production in 2023.

Nouveau Monde president and CEO Eric Desaulniers said: “We can be proud of the innovation and dedication that we have demonstrated throughout the engineering and environmental review phases; they now favourably position us in the marketplace.

“With this green light to launch our Matawinie project, we plan to bring to market a responsibly extracted high-purity graphite to supply EV and energy storage sectors with a local and sustainable alternative.”

As per a feasibility study published in 2018, the Matawinie mining project is estimated to have an initial capital expenditure of CAD276m ($217.6m). The project’s life of mine is 25.5 years.

Fully owned by Nouveau Monde, the all-electric open-pit mine consists 319 mining claims, that are spread over 17,585ha.