Global mining and development company Mineral Commodities has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation that is expected to result in its introduction to the anode-materials supply chain in Europe ahead of schedule. The deal will include the construction and operation of an anode plant in Norway to toll treat graphite material.
The collaboration will allow Mineral Commodities to accelerate its transition to a vertically integrated natural graphite-based anode materials supplier in Europe, based on its natural graphite resources and environmentally sustainable purification.
Mineral Commodities owns and operates the Skaland graphite operation in Norway, the world’s highest-grade operating flake graphite mine and is the only producer in Europe.
Phase 1 of the alliance includes a manufacturing and supply agreement that will see Mineral Commodities-owned Norwegian subsidiary Ascent Graphite construct and operate an anode plant in Norway to toll treat graphite material supplied by and then returned to Mitsubishi.
Phase 2 of the agreement is a broader business partnership to produce and sell active anode materials in Europe, manufactured using Mineral Commodities’ purified graphitic materials and Mitsubishi’s active anode materials technologies.
Mineral Commodities will also utilise Mitsubishi’s experience in material qualification, marketing and sales.
According to both companies, phase 1 is already considerably advanced with Mineral Commodities conducting engineering design for the anode plant with a Final Investment Decision, or FID, expected in the third quarter of this year.
Mineral Commodities Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Jacob Deysel says the first phase will allow the company to gain early entry and invaluable experience in the anode materials supply chain.
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation have significant experience and expertise in the production, qualification and marketing of anode materials which makes them the perfect collaborative partner to build our European Sustainable Graphitic Anode production strategy, initially based on Skaland Graphite natural graphite concentrate.
The phase 2 business collaboration provides the opportunity to leverage MCC’s expertise and our natural graphite operations at Skaland and environmentally sustainable purification technology for Europe’s first vertically integrated ore-to-anode materials business.
According to the material terms of the MOU, both companies will in good faith progress the negotiation of the Manufacturing and Supply Agreement with the intention to execute the agreement prior to the planned FID in the third quarter of 2022.
As part of Phase 2, Mineral Commodities will provide samples of its purified natural flake graphite and purified spherical graphite to Mitsubishi, who will conduct a technical investigation and determine the qualification of each sample.
Once the technical investigation is complete, both companies will negotiate and agree on the style of collaboration to best execute the commercial arrangement that covers the profit share deal in the commercialisation, manufacture and sale of active anode materials for cell manufacturers in Europe.
The structure of the phase 2 is still to be agreed, with options including however not limited to a joint venture, toll manufacturing or technology licensing.
Initial samples have been supplied to Mitsubishi for phase 2 testing, with further samples provision and testing ongoing.
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