Tech company Hazer Group has signed a binding agreement with Mineral Resources to develop a facility to produce synthetic graphite.
The two Perth-based companies will jointly develop a large-scale commercial synthetic graphite facility that will initially target production of 1,000 tonnes per annum of ultra-high purity graphite.
The facility will also have the capability of a modular expansion to 10,000tpa.
MinRes, which is a shareholder in Hazer with about a 14 per cent stake, will fund the project while Hazer will provide technical assistance and obtain royalties from revenue generated from the sale of graphite from the facility.
The venture will initially focus on a pilot scale facility capable of producing 1tpa, the initial commissioning of which has been slated for mid-2018.
Hazer is working to commercialise its Hazer Process, which converts natural gas and similar feedstocks into hydrogen and high-quality graphite.
It uses iron ore as a process catalyst.
Hazer managing director Geoff Pocock said the company was delighted to lock in the long term contract.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Hazer to partner with an organisation with the balance sheet and capital reserves necessary for a project of this magnitude, and the proven execution capability to accelerate the commercial deployment of our technology,” he said
“Mineral Resources’ clear commitment to building exposure to the growing energy storage markets, as well as their support of Hazer in the past, makes them the ideal partner for us.”
MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said the agreement marked another rimportant step in the company’s strategy to pursue green and renewable energy initiatives.
The terms of the agreement allow Hazer to continue pursuing current global hydrogen production opportunities, and grant licences to third parties to use the Hazer technology for hydrogen production purposes.
Any future hydrogen licence will grant MinRes the primary opportunity to acquire any graphite co-produced by hydrogen partners.