NextSource starts procurement for Madagascar graphite mine
NextSource Materials has announced it has begun procurement of processing plant equipment for its Molo graphite mine in Madagascar, East Africa, with the Canadian company securing funding from its strategic investor, Vision Blue Resources Limited.
Since obtaining the capital, NextSource has been its Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firm to ensure all design work and the final project cost estimates are completed.
The company has recently placed orders for processing plant equipment, including primary, flash flotation and attrition mills, flotation column and cleaning circuits, and screeners, crushers and feeders.
While talking about the project, President and CEO of NextSource, Craig Scherba, praised the efforts of his team. He said: “We have reached yet another key milestone with the procurement of key items that will form the backbone of the Molo processing plant. This is a testament to the hard work and diligence of our technical team.”
According to NextSource, construction of the project will begin in August 2021, while commissioning for the mine is targeted for April 2022. The processing plant will be designed to process 240,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ore and produce around 17,000 tpa of SuperFlake graphite concentrate, NextSpace claims.
What is SuperFlake graphite concentrate and what is it used for?
Unique to NextSource Materials, Superflake graphite concentrate was released in September 2019 and can achieve a carbon purity rating of 98%, according to NextSource. The graphite powder also has a high degree of thermal expansion and can be upgraded to 99.97% battery-grade purity.
Flake size is measured in mesh with the largest or ‘jumbo’ being +48mesh. Extra large is classed as +65mesh and large is +80 mesh.NextSource says that the jumbo graphite is used exclusively for specialty graphite foils with a focus on a variety of applications in the automotive, chemical sealant, fire-retardant, and consumer electronics industries.
According to the battery materials research company Roskill, in 2018 Canada imported over 38,786 tonnes of flake graphite. Meanwhile, Japan produced 57,863 tonnes, South Korea 58,341 tonnes, and Germany 55,100 tonnes with the flake powder being a registered trademark in these countries.
Coupa Launches US$50 Million Ventures Fund
Operational resilience and agility. Following the events of the last twelve months, companies have focused on these strategic areas like never before. Some, as we’ve noted, have started to wonder whether this trend will continue post-pandemic—or will we go back to the same old supply chain? Not if Coupa Software has its way.
Last week, the company launched Coupa Ventures, a global fund that will invest US$50mn in early- and growth-stage companies that target business spend inefficiencies. “Coupa Ventures enables us to invest in a future where businesses and their suppliers can harness the power of their spend to constantly adapt, transform, and innovate”, said Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s Chairman and CEO.
What’s Business Spend Management (BSM)?
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound particularly sexy—it sounds like a subsection of the finance department. But business spend management, together with ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management) make up the core operating process of any company out there. When companies spend money, sign contracts, analyse supplier costs, take inventory or budget for the future, that’s BSM. Overall, business spend management is made up of three main areas: procuring materials, managing invoice, and handling expenses. Essentially, it’s the engine of the entire operation.
Why Change It Up?
According to Coupa, the next wave of BSM is now. It wasn’t always this way: in March of 2016, advisory giant Gartner claimed that BSM was dead. At that time, the firm was partly right. Companies couldn’t handle trillions of bits of data by themselves—and they were sinking as the waves of big data swept over their heads.
But recent developments have meant that BSM isn’t fated to die just yet. “The key to optimisation is data—and not just any data”, Coupa stated. The company has supported community intelligence, in which machine learning uses anonymised data from hundreds or thousands of client companies to suggest better spend tactics. This way, companies can get better insight into their suppliers, track supply chain disruptions, and investigate procurement alternatives.
This network effect is part of what makes Coupa Ventures so exciting. Said Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, “We’re excited to join an expansive ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners”.
First Companies in the Ventures Portfolio
- Zylo, a leading SaaS management platform that helps companies manage cloud-based applications, offers visibility into what software is being used, how much is present, and how a company can optimise its software investments.
- SourceDay, a leading supply chain performance solution, bridges the gap between a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its supply chain network.
At SourceDay, Coupa’s investment is heralded as a chance for the company to really take off. “The investment from Coupa Ventures will...enable our joint customers to save money and leverage supplier performance as a competitive edge”, said Tom Kieley, SourceDay CEO. “We’re honoured to expand our relationship with the Coupa ecosystem”.
Looking ahead, Coupa will capitalise on community intelligence to help its partners make smarter spending decisions. “[Organisations will] place bets on which investments will quickly pay off to accelerate their growth and resilience in the post-pandemic economy”, said J.J. Freitag, senior vice president of Corporate Development at Coupa. “[And] we’re looking to back the best ideas across Europe and beyond to help businesses build back even stronger”.