In a recent statement, the company 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,” the company which is listed at Australian Stock Market stated.
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.
At the time, it was estimated that a 5,000 tons per annum plant would have capital costs of U$20m and a 15,000 tons per year expansion a further US$44.4m while operating costs were estimated at U$1,998/t for the full 20,000 tons per annum 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, EcopGraf said in its statement.
“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 statement noted.
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 percent centigrade. 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.