As battery material markets diversify away from China, Australia has an up-and-comer eager to build a vertically integrated graphite business.
International Graphite this week announced the successful commissioning of its new graphite micronising plant in Collie, Western Australia.
This was an achievement of firsts. Not only is the plant the largest qualification-scale microniser in Australia but it’s also set to be the first facility in Australia to produce graphite products for customer acceptance testing.
The plant is the predecessor to a 4000-tonne-per-annum commercial micronising facility the company expects to have operating at Collie within the next 18 months.
“We see breaking into the micronised graphite market as an important step in developing our Springdale–Collie mine-to-market strategy,” International Graphite managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Worland said.
“Demand for batteries will continue to grow. There are already more than 240 battery gigafactories operating worldwide, and up to 400 expected to open by 2030. All of them will need a secure source of graphite materials.
“Australian companies like us are in the box seat to deliver. We have the assets, the technical capability and Western Australia has an unparalleled reputation as a top resource supplier with outstanding ESG (environmental, social and governance) credentials.”
Micronised graphite is the first stage in producing battery anode material to support renewable technologies such as electric vehicles and green energy storage.
Anodes are one of two electrodes that make up a lithium-ion battery, with cathodes – made up of metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt – the other electrode.
According to Wood Mackenzie, the future of graphite hinges largely on the world’s ex-China diversification, with China ramping up efforts to maintain its control of battery supply chains, particularly in the graphite industry.