Purified spherical graphite is a key component of lithium-ion batteries, which is why a handful of companies across the globe are racing to become the first producers outside of China, hoping to stake the prime spot as the global wave of demand begins to peak.
This morning, South Australian company Renascor Resources seems to have taken a lead in the race, announcing it has raised enough to fund its Siviour Battery Anode Material Project to the construction phase, which is set to begin next year, 2022.
The $15 million raised (before costs) was led by “institutional investors” in Australia and overseas, with their monetary commitments to fund the completion of all technical, regulatory and marketing work streams as the company works towards reaching a final investment decision on the Siviour Project, it said in its ASX announcement.
Renascor’s Siviour Project is essentially a vertically integrated battery anode material manufacturing operation in South Australia which includes the $118 million Siviour Graphite Mine and Concentrator located on the Eyre Peninsula, 15km west of Arno Bay. It also includes a $90 million Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) Manufacturing Facility nominally located in Port Adelaide.
The company is sitting on the world’s second largest Proven Reserve of Graphite and the largest Graphite Reserve outside of Africa. It says it will be able to create Graphite Concentrate at among the lowest costs in the world, “competitive with current Chinese production and advantaged over other developments outside of China.”
There are a handful of other companies vying to get in early, banking on market appetite for diversifying purified spherical graphite supply chains outside of a single country, China. Norway, Sweden and Germany are all in the game, and closer to home Western Australian start-up, International Graphite are well on their way.
Given the market is hardly flooded, International Graphite’s CEO Neil Rinaldi believes increased production will only drive demand. “There’s room of us, there’s room for others. I think the industry only benefits from having more participants,” told pv magazine Australia.
Back over in South Australia, Renascor has already signed three non-binding off-take agreements, one of which will see its product used in Japan. The company said it is now seeking to potentially expand its facility’s proposed production capacity beyond its initial stage one of 28,000 tonnes per year “on the back of the strong inbound demand for the Siviour PSG product.”
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