Caterpillar, NMG set roadmap for Canadian mine’s electrification

Eric Desaulniers, NMG President and CEO, and Bernard Perron, NMG COO, with Caterpillar’s first battery-electric 793 large mining truck demonstrated at Caterpillar’s Tucson Proving Ground in Arizona. (Photo: Business Wire)

Based on the foundation of a 2021 collaboration agreement and technical work jointly achieved over the past two years, Caterpillar Inc. announced it has signed definitive agreements to supply Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc.’s (NMG) Matawinie Mine with an integrated solution covering a zero-emission fleet, supporting infrastructure and service. Under the agreements, Caterpillar and NMG have established a roadmap for development and testing of equipment and infrastructure at the mine site in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Québec, Canada.

Equipment currently in commercial production will be leveraged to support mine operations during the pre-production phase and early production years and are set to be progressively replaced with Cat zero-emission machines as they become available. The goal is to realize a complete all-electric transition by year five of Matawinie commercial operations.

To further this objective, NMG technical teams will test Caterpillar’s Early Learner models and pilot units and support their technology development. Data will be gathered during use in a variety of weather, terrain and operation conditions, with this feedback being used to help further advance development of electrified machines and sites.

Caterpillar’s Denise Johnson and NMG’s Eric Desaulniers surrounded by members of their respective electrification leadership teams. (Photo: Business Wire)

Throughout the duration of the contract, as machines move toward commercialization, Caterpillar will reserve production slots to enable timely deliveries and technology enhancements to Matawinie. This will include equipment such as hydraulic excavators, mining trucks, wheel loaders, dozers and motor graders, as well as charging and energy storage infrastructure and equipment maintenance services.

To reduce the initial capital intensity for the mine, NMG will have access to equipment through an hourly fee based on usage, as well as asset management support through Caterpillar and Toromont Industries Ltd., an authorized Cat dealer. NMG will also have the opportunity to lease or acquire machines through Toromont.

“Caterpillar is providing NMG with a comprehensive solution for the company’s Matawinie Mine,” acknowledged Arne H. Frandsen, chair of NMG, “de-risking the adoption of new technologies and optimizing operational excellence through integrated infrastructure.”

Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group president, described the project as “an exciting one as it highlights what is possible when an effective energy transition roadmap is implemented that bridges the traditional product line to an integrated, electrified site of the future.”

Battery materials MoU

NMG and Caterpillar have also signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance commercial discussions on NMG’s active anode material. Through this offtake MoU, NMG would supply carbon-neutral graphite materials – produced at the Matawinie Mine and Bécancour Battery Material Plant – to Caterpillar for development of its battery supply chain for heavy vehicle electrification, including the Matawinie fleet.

“A secure, resilient, and sustainable supply of battery materials is critical to actualizing the opportunities that electrification represents for our customers. This collaboration with NMG is an example of how Caterpillar is intentionally building out our value chain to support our customers’ sustainability objectives and further establish our role in the global energy transition,” said Rod Shurman, Caterpillar Senior Vice President with responsibility for the Electrification and Advanced Power Solutions Division.

Eric Desaulniers, founder, president and CEO of NMG, added, “Not only will we benefit from Caterpillar’s stellar expertise, renowned products and latest technological developments, but our team will also be at the forefront of the electric revolution in the sector, sharing insight, testing equipment for further optimization and providing battery materials to support electrification beyond our mine. This collaboration truly reflects our vision for leadership and unified efforts to advance responsible mining practices and global decarbonization.”

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