PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed EcoGraf’s battery anode materials facility, in Western Australia, has officially been awarded Major Project status by the federal government.
EcoGraf will develop a processing facility to produce high purity spherical graphite for direct supply to battery anode manufacturers in Europe, Asia and America, and is expected to be the first graphite processing plant outside of China.
Production capacity for Stage 1 of the proposed facility is 5 000 t/y of battery-grade spherical graphite, increasing to 20 000 t/y with the completion of Stage 2, with the processing plant expected to cost some $72-million and would employ some 275 staff during construction.
The development of the processing facility was part of EcoGraf’s vertically integrated graphite business positioned to support the global transition to clean energy and electric mobility.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said the project would offer significant benefits to Western Australia, including up to 250 new jobs during the construction phase, and up to 65 new jobs during the operational phase.
“The Australian government is committed to boosting investment in Australia’s critical minerals industry to help build our sophisticated manufacturing capability and deliver new jobs across the country, and particularly to our regional areas,” Porter said.
“This project will make a high-value contribution to the growth of our critical minerals industry, and open up opportunities for further project developments.”
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the decision to award Major Project status to EcoGraf recognised the strategic significance of the project to Australia.
“EcoGraf is an excellent example of what we want to see more of in Australia – our raw materials being downstream processed right here in Australia, adding value to our exports and creating well paid and sustainable jobs for Australian workers in the process,” Pitt said.
“The project will also use EcoGraf’s own purification technology that eliminates the use of hydrofluoric acid leading to a cost-effective and environmentally friendly purification process.”
EcoGraf MD Andrew Spinks said the company was delighted with the support from the federal government.
“Our new battery anode materials facility forms part of Australia’s plans to expand its critical minerals processing and advanced manufacturing industries to provide sustainably produced, high quality products for the global lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle markets.
“EcoGraf’s development strongly aligns with recent legislative policy changes in Europe that require higher standards of environmental and social governance in battery supply chains. Unprecedented investment is currently under way globally to establish self-sufficient and sustainable battery manufacturing supply chains to support the electric vehicle industry,” said Spinks.
Companies awarded Major Project status can access extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including being provided with a single entry point for Australian government approvals, project support and coordination.