Helping hand from WA Government to push Kibaran closer to WA graphite dream

6th September 2019
Resources Rising Stars

The WA Government has thrown its support behind Kibaran Resources’ Kwinana graphite plant, providing a boost to the company as it seeks to finalise funding for what may become a $100 million-plus project in the State’s emerging Lithium Valley (reports The West Australian).

Kibaran today said the so-called lead agency support provided by the Government sees the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation co-ordinating regulatory approvals and government consultations on the group’s EcoGraf Battery project.

The proposed plant would produce battery-grade graphite for sale to battery makers in Asia and Europe using Kibaran’s patented EcoGraf technology, which eliminates the need for the toxic hydroflouric acid used by other producers.

Kibaran plans to spend $US22.8 million ($33.5 million) to enter production at 5000 tonnes a year, with a further investment of $US49 million to boost annual production to 20,000t.

Managing director Andrew Spinks the lead agency support would assist its funding negotiations and the approvals process as the company moves to a final investment decision early next year.

Kibaran is looking to fund the project through a combination of debt and equity, with a strategic partnership key to its plans.

The raw graphite would be sourced from producers in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

An study by GR Engineering Services disclosed in June estimates the Kwinana plant would have a pre-tax net present value of $US141 million, generate an internal rate of return of 37 per cent and post annual EBITDA of $US35 million.

The company is hoping to capitalise on increasing customer requirements for new, more geographically diversified sources of high-quality, environmentally sustainable supply.

Mr Spinks said everything the company needed to produce battery-grade graphite was available in Kwinana, given the various chemical producers located nearby.

“We think that Kwinana has a lot to offer in terms of meeting the exacting specifications of battery-grade graphite consistently,” he said.

Graphite is needed for the anodes of electric vehicle batteries. Kibaran will look to secure funding and environmental approvals for the plant ahead of a final investment decision next year.

The company is separately pursuing debt funding with German development bank Kfw for its $US89 million Epanko graphite mining project in Tanzania.

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