Australian graphite explorer EcoGraf reported in June that it had signed an agreement to supply graphite products used in making batteries to a unit of German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp.
EcoGraf said Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading would buy purified spherical graphite battery anode material, used in lithium ion batteries, from its Kwinana plant in Western Australia.
EcoGraf has also signed a non-binding sales deal with Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading, a subsidiary of major German tech group Thyssenkrupp. The 10-year agreement will see EcoGraf sell purified spherical graphite battery anode material and by-product (fines) from its planned Kwinana facility in Western Australia.
A number of companies with flake graphite mining projects outside of China have furthered their development of spherical graphite in a race to become the first commercial-scale producer in the rest-of-world (ROW).
As previously reported, Kibaran Resources (now EcoGraf) completed an engineering study in April 2019 for the production of spherical graphite based on its EcoGrafTM purification process, with testing on global samples, as well as those from the company’s Epanko project in Tanzania. At the time, it was estimated that a 5ktpy plant would have capital costs of US$20.0M and a 15ktpy expansion a further US$44.4M. Operating costs were estimated at US$1,998/t for the full 20kpty capacity.
The proposed battery graphite purification plant in Kwinana will be one of only a handful of such facilities being developed outside China; none have yet made it to commercial-scale production. China is the world’s largest producer of graphite and, currently, the only producer of spherical graphite for supply to the battery market. Barriers to entry for this material are high, in terms of both production costs and environmental hurdles.
The company’s proprietary purification technology offers an alternative to the use of hydrofluoric acid (HF) and results in grades of more than 99.95%C.
Australia is a member of the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, a group of countries trying to develop the production of battery materials and other high-tech metals, and reduce the world’s reliance on China for these metals and minerals.
Roskill’s NEW Natural & Synthetic Graphite: Outlook to 2030, 13th Edition report will be published in July 2020; Click here to download the brochure and sample pages for the report, or to access further information.
Roskill’s Fluorspar: Outlook to 2029, 14th Edition report (which also covers HF) was published in February 2020; Click here to download the brochure and sample pages for the report, or to access further information.