Laval firm mooted to supply Tesla Motors’ gigafactory

Laval firm mooted to supply Tesla Motors’ gigafactory
By Robert Frank

American multimillionaire author Jim Rogers has singled out Laval-headquartered mining firm Maison Graphite as the logical choice to supply the US $5 billion gigafactory that Tesla Motors plans to build.

The gigafactory will permit Tesla to ramp up its battery production and achieve its goal to sell 500,000 electric cars a year by 2020. Customers line up to buy Tesla’s Model S electric-only sports car, which Car and Driver named car-of-the-year, and there’s already a long waiting list for its yet-to-be-released Model X electric sport utility vehicle.

“I think [Mason Graphite] has the largest deposit of graphite in the world,” the commodities investor, whose net worth is estimated at $300 million, told an American interviewer, “and it’s run by an extremely knowledgeable group of people, and I know that, if graphite has a future—which it does—and graphene, then this company’s going to do extremely well.”

“We are not yet a Tesla supplier,” Maison Graphite vice-president Simon Marcotte told The Suburban. “We cannot comment on this.”

“Depending on the manufacturer, there can be 10 to 20 times more graphite than lithium in a lithium-ion battery,” Marcotte explained in an interview. “It’s a very critical part of the battery.”

“Our graphite deposit north of Baie Comeau has the highest grade of graphite in the world by a significant margin, as of today,” he said. “According to a preliminary assessment, the grade would be 27 percent [pure graphite] for the first 22 years of operation of the mine.”

“Combine the grade with Quebec’s clean, cheap hydroelectric power and Maison Graphite should be the lowest-cost [graphite production] operation in the world, save for some Chinese operations,” he explained.

Several Quebec parapublic investors have already contributed capital into developing the firm’s mine.

“Resource Quebec injected $4 million into the company,” Marcotte reported. “Sodimex, part of the Caisse de dépôt, injected a bit more than $4 million. FSTQ invested about $500,000. Finance in the public market totals about $16 million, more than we needed.”

He said that Maison Graphite is currently spending the money to complete a feasibility study by mid-2015, and expects its graphite mine to enter operations by the end of 2015.

Maison Graphite’s high-grade mine could help put popular Tesla electric cars within ordinary consumers’ reach by 2020.

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