Taiwanese battery manufacturer Aleees will look to develop a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cathode manufacturing facility in Darwin after inking a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ASX-listed resources company Avenira and the Northern Territory (NT) government.
Aleees, which claims to be one of the few companies outside China with complete LFP cathode material manufacturing capability, will explore the development of a production facility in Darwin capable of manufacturing up to 200,000 tonnes of LFP battery cathode material each year.
The facility would exclusively source phosphoric acid from Avenira’s Wonarah Phosphate Project near Tennant Creek in the Barkly region.
A final investment decision for a pilot facility is expected early in 2023.
Once operational, the pilot facility will manufacture up to 10,000 tonnes of LFP battery cathode material per year. Capacity is expected to be gradually ramped up to 200,000 tonnes per annum with the facility to be expanded in phases over the next 10 years.
Aleees Australia president Brandon Chang said the agreement between the trio has the potential to have a “significant impact on strengthening the lithium battery supply chain in the world.”
Avenira executive chairman Brett Clark was also optimistic about the agreement, claiming it would aid the company’s ambition to value add to its mineral resources.
The lithium cathode material is a critical active material used in electric vehicle and stationary energy storage batteries. It determines the capacity, safety and durability of the battery.
“This MOU opens the door for Avenira to learn from Aleees about LFP battery cathode manufacturing technology,” Clark said. “[We can] leverage this experience to optimise the production of phosphoric acid from the Wonarah Project and develop downstream assets to produce Australia’s first LFP precursor cathode material.”
The NT government, which will work with Aleees, Avenira and their supply chain partners to identify a suitable site in Darwin for the facility, estimates the project will initially create 100 jobs, growing up to 1,000 jobs and generating more than $6 billion in revenue annually once scaled to full production.
NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles described the prospective plant as a “significant economic and strategic opportunity” for the Territory, one that would position it as the “next Australian home of advanced manufacturing”.
“Increasing demand and the transition to renewable energy, battery storage and use of high technology products has resulted in global organisations looking to establish diversified, reliable and stable supply chains,” she said.
“The project will position the Territory as the next Australian home of advanced manufacturing, develop new skills and jobs, as well as support our objective to achieve a $40 billion economy by 2030.”
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