05/09/2019 - 15:27

Govt backs $33m Kwinana graphite project

05/09/2019 - 15:27

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Kibaran Resources has welcomed state government support in the development of its planned graphite plant, one of several potential projects in Kwinana’s emerging 'battery valley'.

Mark McGowan says the Kwinana-based project aligned with the government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy.

Kibaran Resources has welcomed state government support in the development of its planned graphite plant, one of several potential projects in Kwinana’s emerging 'battery valley'.

Kibaran said the Department of Jobs Tourism Science and Innovation will be coordinating regulatory approvals and government consultations on the group’s EcoGraf Battery project.

The West Perth-based junior plans to make a final investment decision by early next year.

First production is scheduled for early 2021, with Kibaran planning to spend $US22.8 million ($33.5 million) to enter production at 5,000 tonnes a year, with a further investment of $US49.2 million ($72.2 million) to boost annual production to 20,000t.

A study by GR Engineering Services in June estimated that the Kwinana plant would have a pre-tax net present value of $US141 million ($207 million), generate an internal rate of return of 37 per cent, and post annual earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of $US35 million ($51.4 million).

The proposed plant would produce battery-grade graphite for sale to battery makers in Japan, South Korea and Europe, using Kibaran’s patented EcoGraf process.

EcoGraf eliminates the need for the toxic hydroflouric acid, which is used by other producers.

Mr McGowan said the Kwinana-based project aligned with the government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy.

“The potential to produce battery grade graphite from the Ecograf Battery Graphite Project presents a significant step in diversifying Western Australia’s downstream processing activities and contribution to the global battery value chain,” he said.

Graphite is needed for the anodes of electric vehicle batteries, and Kibaran’s proposal is one of several battery focused developments, outside of the lithium sphere, around the Kwinana area.

Perth-headquartered Pilbara Metals Group is planning a $40 million to $50 million manganese sulphate plant in East Rockingham, with an option on 10 hectares of land with LandCorp.

Magellan Power has plans to manufacture battery modules for households and utilities in Kwinana.

BHP's Nicket West division is building a $55 million nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery.

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