- Coating of Nouveau Monde’s spherical graphite represents the final and most advanced step in the value chain of battery anode material, generating attractive profit margins.
- Forge Nano’s advanced coating technologies will enhance the performance of Nouveau Monde’s graphite as part of the Lithium-ion battery system.
- Production of high-performance coated graphite anode material confirms Nouveau Monde’s position as a leader of battery anode material outside of China.
- Forge Nano is backed by industry leaders such as Volkswagen, LG Technology Ventures and Mitsui Kinzoku.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, October 6, 2020 – Nouveau Monde Graphite (“Nouveau Monde” or “the Company”) (TSXV: NOU; OTCQX: NMGRF; Frankfurt: NM9) and Forge Nano, based in Colorado, USA, are pleased to announce that they have signed an important collaboration agreement for the use of Forge Nano’s proprietary Atomic Layer Deposition-coating technologies (“ALD”). The coating of spherical graphite is the last process step needed to complete Nouveau Monde’s graphite-based product range for the EV and renewable energy sectors. This agreement underpins Nouveau Monde’s strategy to be a fully integrated producer of battery materials, offering shareholders increased revenue and additional margins, while offering its future clients a sustainable and reliable source of high-quality products. Eric Desaulniers, President & CEO of Nouveau Monde explains: “We are very excited to collaborate with Forge Nano, an American-based global leader in surface engineering, that is well-recognized in the EV and battery sectors. With the use of their ALD-coating technology, we will be able to offer our customers an enhanced battery material solution.” He adds: “Partnering with Forge Nano, will enable Nouveau Monde to market an active anode material that is optimized for each battery system, using different cathode and electrolyte chemistries. This coating layer will play a pivotal role in matching ion exchange compatibility, that will drive battery performance beyond what is currently known.” James Trevey, CTO of Forge Nano explains: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Nouveau Monde to provide tailored, high-performance graphite products capable of meeting the demands of any application” He adds: “Not only are we excited about the business potential of our partnership but appreciate working with people as passionate about innovation and market leadership as we are, this relationship has all of the right ingredients for a long term partnership”.
Why is ALD coating so effective in Lithium-Ion Battery materials?
When added to anode powders, cathode powders, solid state electrolyte powders, and separator materials, or the combination thereof, the result is an increased cycle life and reduced capacity fade, increased ionic or electronic conductivity, greater stability under high voltage operation, greater capacity retention under fast charging, greater stability under high temperature storage and extreme low and high temperature operation conditions. As well, as protection from interfacial side reactions, low gas generation, greater moisture resistance, modified interfacial thermodynamics, high temperature resistance to thermal runaway, and abuse tolerance.
U.S. Government declares State of Emergency to establish a North American supply of graphite
On September 30th 2020, the U.S. Presidency declared an Executive Order on addressing the threat to the domestic supply chain from reliance on critical minerals from Foreign Adversaries, whose practices do not endorse and pursue appropriate minerals supply chain standards, leading to human rights violations, forced and child labor, violent conflict, and health and environmental damage: “The United States is 100 percent reliant on imports for graphite, which is used to make advanced batteries for cellphones, laptops, and hybrid and electric cars. China produces over 60 percent of the world’s graphite and almost all the world’s production of high-purity graphite needed for rechargeable batteries. For these and other critical minerals identified by the Secretary of the Interior, we must reduce our vulnerability to adverse foreign government action, natural disaster, or other supply disruptions. Our national security, foreign policy, and economy require a consistent supply of each of these minerals. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.” Source Nouveau Monde will respond to these and similar demands, ensuring a dependable and ethically sourced supply.
Terms of the Agreement
The Agreement sets out a multi-phase partnership, which will allow Nouveau Monde the opportunity to commence production in the near-term, while preparing for commercial production by 2023. Initially, Nouveau Monde will supply Forge Nano with test batches of spherical graphite to successfully determine the optimal ALD operational parameters. Nouveau Monde will then purchase a first ALD module from Forge Nano, which will be added to the Company’s battery anode material demonstration plant in Québec, Canada. In the interim, Forge Nano will collaborate with Nouveau Monde for the design and specifications of ALD equipment for the Company’s full-scale commercial operation in Canada. At full-scale production, Nouveau Monde plans to produce 40,000 tons per year of battery anode material, with the ability to expand over time to meet market demand. About Forge Nano Forge Nano is a global leader in surface engineering and precision nano-coating technology, using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). The Company’s proprietary technology and manufacturing processes make angstrom-thick coatings fast, affordable, and commercially viable for a wide range of materials, applications and industries. Forge Nano’s suite of ALD and PALD products and services covers the full spectrum from lab-scale tools to commercial-scale manufacturing systems. Over the last year, the Company has received major support and signed meaningful partnerships with Volkswagen, LG Technology Ventures, Mitsui Kinzoku, Air Liquide, and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. About Nouveau Monde Graphite Nouveau Monde Graphite is set to become a key operator in the sustainable energy revolution. The Company is developing the only fully integrated source of green battery anode material in North America. Targeting full-scale commercial operations by early 2023, the Company will provide advanced carbon-neutral graphite-based material solutions to the growing Lithium-ion and fuel cell markets. With low-cost operations and the highest of ESG standards, Nouveau Monde Graphite will become a strategic supplier to the world’s leading battery– and automakers, ensuring robust and reliable advanced material while guaranteeing supply chain traceability. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information All statements, other than statements of historical fact, contained in this press release including, but not limited to, those relating to obtaining the additional capital required to enable the Corporation to complete construction, the ability to obtain amendments to, and thereafter meet funding and other conditions under, the streaming agreement and the senior secured bonds, constitute “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of certain securities laws and are based on expectations and projections as of the date of this press release. Certain important assumptions by the Corporation in making forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the completion of the Offering and the conclusion of the Standby Agreement. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, those related to (i) the ability of the Corporation to close the Offering, (ii) the obtaining of the regulatory approval, including the approval of the TSXV, (iii) the execution of a Standby Agreement with Pallinghurst, and (iv) generally, the statements made by Mr. Desaulniers as well as the above “About Nouveau Monde” paragraph which essentially describes the Corporation’s outlook. Forward-looking statements are based on expectations, estimates and projections as of the time of this press release. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Corporation as of the time of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. These estimates and assumptions may prove to be incorrect. Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can directly or indirectly affect, and could cause, actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that (i) the Offering will close, (ii) the Standby Agreement will be concluded, and (iii) the Corporation will obtain the regulatory approval, including the approval of the TSXV. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important risk factors and future events could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates, assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements and those made in our other filings with the securities regulators of Canada including, but not limited to, the cautionary statements made in the “Risk Factors” section of the Corporation’s Annual Information Form dated April 25, 2019. The Corporation cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive, and new, unforeseeable risks may arise from time to time. The Corporation disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward- looking statements or to explain any material difference between subsequent actual events and such forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable law. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Further information regarding Corporation is available in the SEDAR database (www.sedar.com) and on the Corporation’s website at: www.NouveauMonde.ca