(Bloomberg) -- NextSource Materials Inc. plans to build a graphite-purification plant in Mauritius’ freeport zone, supplying manufacturers with the substance used to make electric-vehicle batteries.  

The facility will have capacity to produce 3,600 tons annually, expanding to 14,400 tons after 2024, the local unit of the Toronto-based company said in filings with the government. The graphite will come from the company’s mine in Madagascar and be processed into exportable battery-grade graphite at Mer Rouge in Mauritius’s freeport zone, it said. 

The finished product, known as coated spherical purified graphite, “will be exported to well-known global battery manufacturers from Port Louis,” the Mauritian capital, it said. 

Growth in the lithium-ion battery market is set to spur graphite consumption, according to the US Geological Survey. Global use of the material by that industry has tripled since 2019, it said, citing the Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

After Mozambique, the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar has the biggest reserves of graphite in Africa, amounting to 24 million tons. Data from the USGS show that output from the country declined to 100,000 tons in 2023 from 130,000 tons a year earlier.

“Graphite demands are on the rise as valuable and broad applications are being researched and developed ranging from consumer electronics, green energy storage and medical applications,” NextSource said. 

The company said that while deposits are not scarce, the supply of battery-grade graphite “is much tighter.”

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