Panasonic Energy (PE) has signed a seven-year offtake agreement for the supply of natural graphite with Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. (NMG – of Quebec, Canada), a manufacturer of anode active material.

In addition, Panasonic Energy announced plans to invest in NMG, starting with a payment of USD25 million.

Panasonic Energy says it is expanding its EV battery production in North America, including by increasing its use of locally sourced materials for a more sustainable supply chain, aiming to meet the growing global demand for EVs. The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NMG regarding the offtake agreement in October 2022, and subsequently advanced technological development and process optimization (in line with Panasonic Energy’s specifications and quality standards for the development of integrated graphite production in North America). As a result, the two companies have now entered into a supply agreement.

Under a “mine-to-battery-material” model, NMG will produce natural graphite from its Matawinie Mine in Quebec to produce anode active materials at its battery material plant in Bécancour, Quebec.

PE says the vertically integrated model positions NMG as an ideal partner to support its plan to build a ‘robust supply chain in North America’.

The company also says Canada is known for clean energy initiatives, including Quebec’s use of renewable sources to generate 99% of the province’s electricity. NMG’s carbon neutral graphite material will not only strengthen Panasonic Energy’s supply chain in North America, but also support the company’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint to 50% of its 2022 level by 2031.

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The governments of Japan and Canada deepened their bilateral partnership by signing a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) regarding battery supply chains in September 2023. As one of the outcomes, Panasonic Energy said it ‘now hopes to support greater global adoption of EVs by providing high-quality, high-capacity batteries that will extend the driving range of EVs in the North American market’.

Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., was established in April 2022 as part of the Panasonic Group’s switch to an operating company system; it provides innovative battery technology-based products and solutions globally – including automotive lithium-ion batteries, storage battery systems and dry batteries.