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Syrah falls under the Ford spell

22nd July 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Graphite miner Syrah Resources has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with automotive giant Ford Motor Company and battery business SK On to evaluate a strategic arrangement, which will include natural graphite anode material (AAM) from the Vidalia facility, in the US.

Ford and SK are joint venturing on BlueOval, which will supply lithium-ion batteries for Ford’s electric vehicle programme. Through the joint venture (JV), the two companies are jointly developing large-scale battery manufacturing facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Under the MoU, Syrah, Ford and SK will continue testing and qualifying Vidalia AAM and use commercially reasonable efforts to finalise, by no later than the end of December 2022, a binding offtake agreement between Syrah and the BlueOval JV for AAM from an expanded production facility at Vidalia and with an offtake start date of no later than 2028.

Syrah is developing Vidalia as a vertically integrated natural graphite AAM supply alternative for US battery supply chains with construction of an 11 250 t/y AAM facility expected to be completed in the June 2023 quarter and start of production targeted in the September 2023 quarter.

Ford’s MoU with Syrah follows a binding offtake agreement with fellow listed ioneer to source lithium carbonate from its Rhyolite Ridge project, in Nevada, for the BlueOval project.

The five-year binding agreement is for a total of 7 000 t/y of lithium carbonate from the Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron operation.

Rhyolite Ridge is set to come onstream in 2025 and will produce an average of 20 600 t/y of lithium carbonate/hydroxide along with about 174 400 t/y of boric acid over a 26-year life.

Ford has also inked an MoU with mining major Rio Tinto to jointly develop more sustainable and secure supply chains for battery and low-carbon materials to be used in Ford’s vehicles.

Under the agreement, Ford will explore becoming the foundation customer for Rio Tinto’s Rincon lithium project in Argentina, and the two companies would also collaborate on developing secure domestic supply chains for Ford across other essential commodities for the energy transition from Rio Tinto’s operations in North America, including copper produced with a low-carbon footprint.

Ford this week also struck an MoU with miner BHP for nickel supply from the Nickel West operation, in Western Australia.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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