Kibaran keen on Kwinana for plant
14th June 2019
Resources Rising Stars
Kibaran Resources has flagged plans for a $US23 million ($33 million) graphite-processing plant at Kwinana representing another lift to the area’s growing reputation as Australia’s Lithium Valley (reports The West Australian).
The West Perth-based aspiring graphite producer yesterday announced it had secured a 4ha site for the plant 30km south of Perth as part of a broader strategy of becoming a multi-hub producer of battery-grade graphite, with similar facilities planned for Asia and Europe.
The plant will use the company’s globally patented EcoGraf technology, which eliminates the need for expensive and toxic hydroflouric acid in the purification process.
Kibaran said the Kwinana plant would initially produce 5000tpa of battery-grade graphite, with a further investment of $US49 million to boost annual production to 20,000t.
The raw graphite would be sourced from producers in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe with the end-product exported to battery manufacturers in Asia, Europe and the US.
An study by GR Engineering Services 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.
Managing director Andrew Spinks said the facility would cost 10 per cent more to build and operate compared with a similar facility in Asia, but the benefits of a Kwinana location would outweigh the extra costs.
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 the company’s EcoGraf technology was cheaper than the conventional purification process used by the dominant Chinese graphite producers and was eco-friendly.
“We think that our process sits very nicely as an alternate outside of China,” he said.
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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