Nasdaq-listed Westwater Resources is planning to establish a speciality battery graphite manufacturing business in the US state of Alabama, with the Coosa graphite mine an essential cog in this wheel.
Once operational in 2026, the Coosa graphite project, near Birmingham, will provide feedstock for the manufacturing business that Westwater’s recently acquired subsidiary Alabama Graphite plans to establish, offering US customers a “sourced-in-the-US” and “made-in-the-US” solution for speciality battery graphite projects.
Alabama Graphite plans to build a graphite processing facility near the Coosa graphite project to produce advanced battery-graphite products to feed the fast-growing demand from the electric transportation, grid-power storage and personal electric device energy storage markets.
The graphite processing facility will enter production in 2020, Westwater says, but will initially acquire feedstock from external sources. The company is in the process of testing feedstock from 30 potential suppliers.
The purification plant will have an initial capacity of 5 000 t/y, increasing to 15 000 t/y by 2024, Westwater states.
Once the Coosa mine enters into production in 2026, the mill will use concentrate originating from US soil. At full scale production, the mining rate will be 577 000 short tons a year, at an average grade of 3.2% graphite.
The Coosa project has a resource estimate of 78.4-million tons, averaging 2.39% graphite and an inferred mineral resource of 79.4-million tons, averaging 2.56% graphite.
The deposit is located at the southern end of the Appalachian mountain range, in Coosa county. The project mineral tenure comprises about 16 982 ha of privately-owned mineral rights that the company holds under a long-term lease.
In its business plan for Alabama Graphite, Westwater states that the market for conventional, primary-processed (unfinished) graphite concentrate is well supplied, and that finished product is the only flake-graphite application where there will be significant demand.