Epsilon and TMC to undertake Pre-Feasibility Study to establish
World’s First Commercial Polymetallic Nodule Processing Plant in India
Plans initial investment of Rs 1,200 crore for the Indian facility
New Delhi, April 5, 2022: Epsilon Carbon, India’s leading carbon black company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Nasdaq-listed The Metals Company Inc. According to the agreement, both the companies will jointly undertake a pre-feasibility study for a commercial-scale deep-sea nodule processing plant in India. Following this study, they will jointly set-up to set up world’s first Commercial Polymetallic Nodule Processing Plant in India with an initial investment of Rs 1,200 crore in the first phase. The focus of this collaboration would be on producing cathode precursors with the lowest carbon footprint. These cathode precursors will be converted to cathode active materials at the proposed facility in India.
Epsilon Carbon will process 1 million tons per annum (MTPA) of dry nodules to create a production capacity of over 30,000 tonnes of an intermediate nickel-copper-cobalt matte product per annum. This product is ideal to be used for active cathode material (CAM) in Lithium-ion Batteries (LiBs). Epsilon Carbon has a patented process to convert coal tar waste to synthetic graphite for use as anodes in Lithium-ion Batteries (LiBs) and is currently the only graphite anode manufacturer in India. Epsilon aims to produce battery materials with the lowest possible Carbon footprint which is in line with the company’s ESG roadmap.
The recent PLI scheme for Advanced Cell Chemistries (ACC) proposed by the Government of India necessitates a 60% local content to qualify for the government investment. Epsilon with its commercial production of synthetic graphite and a pipeline to produce 30,000 TPA of NMC and 20,000 TPA of LFP by 2025 will contribute significantly towards helping Indian Giga-factories of the future to meet their local-content requirement.-
According to Mr Vikram Handa, Managing Director of Epsilon Carbon said, “Having developed technology to tap an unconventional source of graphite using a waste stream from steel manufacturing, we are rapidly growing our anode materials’ business in India including a new facility in Finland. Our focus is to expand into diverse cathode materials by 2024. TMC’s polymetallic nodule resource struck us as a game-changing opportunity to tap another unconventional resource with several intrinsic properties that potentially allow us to develop a cathode precursor materials business with a much lower environmental and social impact. We have already started the pre-feasibility study and believe that the scale of TMC’s resource has the potential to turn India into a significant supplier of critical minerals for battery and steel industries. The intent of our large investment is to make India Atmanibhar for producing battery raw materials.”
Gerard Barron, Chairman and CEO of TMC commented, “Over the last three years, we have engaged with many parties and visited plants around the world in search of the right onshore partners. In Epsilon Carbon, we have found a rare mix: a proven operational execution track record in anode materials, a 21st century approach to industrial development grounded in making use of waste products, deep care about safety, environmental and social impacts, and an entrepreneurial ambition to develop cathode precursor materials. We could not be more excited about partnering with the Epsilon Carbon team and the prospect of locating our first plant in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to 20% of the world’s population with robust development-led demand for the raw materials that can be derived from polymetallic nodules. Prime Minister Modi’s allocation last year of $600 million for India’s ‘Deep Ocean Mission and the development of a polymetallic nodule collection system shows the country’s commitment to this new, abundant, secure, lower-cost and lower-ESG-impact potential source of critical metals.”