Battery graphite manufacturer EcoGraf Limited (ASX: EGR), formerly known as Kibaran Resources Limited (ASX: KNL) has recently announced that it has formalised a Participant Agreement with the Perth-based Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI CRC) centered at Curtin University.
EcoGraf, founded on a commitment to sustainability and innovation, is establishing a vertically integrated business for the production of high-grade graphite for the lithium-ion battery industry. The Company has proposed the development of a state-of-the-art processing facility in Kwinana, Western Australia, which is advancing towards a Final Investment Decision (FID) in the first half of 2020.
EcoGraf to Become One of FBI CRC’s Industry Partners
Under the agreement, the Company will be one of FBI CRC’s industry partners, assisting in the provision of the technology required to identify opportunities for improving effectiveness in battery minerals’ refinement and extraction.
The $135 million FBI CRC was set up in 2018 to position Australia as an international leader in the ethically, environmentally and socially responsible deployment, recycling, manufacture and supply of battery materials and batteries by associating with research institutions, industry and government to address industry-identified gaps in the country’s battery industries value chain.
Australia possesses new energy materials (including graphite) in abundance, essential to future battery industries. The FBI CRC intends to ensure the economic return is optimised for the country’s new energy materials.
In addition, the FBI CRC aims to provide Australia with leadership in making a meaningful contribution to the value chain of the future battery industry and contribute industry-led research to the growth of the whole future battery industries value stream.
Kwinana Manufacturing Facility: Consistent with FBI CRC’s Goals
EcoGraf’s proposed development of Kwinana battery graphite processing plant is consistent with FBI CRC’s objectives, targeted at the expansion of battery minerals and chemicals production and advancement of opportunities for producing batteries in Australia.
The Company’s unique environment-friendly graphite purification technology at Kwinana manufacturing facility will offer critical material for FBI CRC research programs.
Kwinana production facility will initially produce 5,000tpa of battery-grade graphite, expanding to 20,000tpa post six months of initial production. The development of the project is in line with the WA Government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy, which aims to ensure Australia an extended space in the quickly transforming international battery value chain.
The Company has already commenced the pre-development activities and debt financing process with potential lenders for construction of Kwinana facility. It intends to complete pre-development activities and secure FID in 2020.
Moreover, it has also received strong government support in Tanzania, which is expected to result in financier approvals for its Epanko Graphite Project, which will offer customers with the long-run supply of high-grade graphite products for industrial applications like recarburisers, refractories and lubricants.
It is imperative to note that significant value-adding and downstream opportunities exist for EcoGraf within graphite supply chain markets, especially in the production of anode materials for lithium-ion batteries as clients increasingly look for alternative supplies of responsibly produced, high-quality raw materials.
EGR traded at $0.076 on 7 January 2020.
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