Idemitsu grabs stake in Graphinex battery materials bid


The Australian arm of Japanese resources and energy company Idemitsu Kosan announced it has acquired a “significant stake” in Queensland-based graphite resources company Graphinex as part of its global strategy to diversify its portfolio and invest in high-growth markets such as graphite that is a key component in the production of electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

Graphinex holds a portfolio of exploration tenements near Croydon, in Queensland’s north west minerals province, including the flagship Esmeralda Graphite Project which the company said has the potential to host Australia’s largest graphite resource.

Graphite is commonly used as an anode material in lithium-ion batteries due to its effective conductor qualities and Graphinex is aiming to become a key player in the battery materials sector as energy storage solutions and car manufacturers scramble to secure supply.

Idemitsu, which owns a string of coal mining operations throughout Queensland and New South Wales (NSW), said the investment will accelerate Graphinex’s exploration and development activities for the Esmeralda project which aims to become a reliable supplier of premium coated battery anode material catering to the rapidly expanding global battery industry.

“This marks a pivotal moment for Graphinex,” Graphinex Managing Director Art Malon said.

“Idemitsu’s strategic investment and support propels us forward in our journey to supply battery active anode material and spherical graphite to global battery manufacturers.”

The Brisbane-headquartered company has also announced it plans to develop a battery anode manufacturing facility alongside its graphite production operations.

Idemitsu Australia Chief Executive Officer Steve Kovac said the company’s involvement with the venture is part of its broader renewable and clean energy projects strategy.

“This investment aligns with our strategic focus on supporting sustainable technologies and diversifying our energy portfolio,” he said.

“The growing demand for critical minerals like graphite continues to advance the global energy transition to an electrification and decarbonisation phase. Idemitsu’s strategic investment in Graphinex positions us to meet the demand as the world embraces more advanced sustainable energy solutions.”

The investment is the latest for Idemitsu as it scales up its presence in the Australian energy market. Earlier this year the company announced it would team with Australian minerals company Vecco Group to build an ‘end-to-end’ manufacturing supply chain for vanadium flow batteries in north Queensland.

That announcement followed Idemitsu’s investment in Queensland-headquartered vanadium focused company Critical Minerals Group, and West Australia-based lithium exploration company Delta Lithium.

“As global demand for critical minerals and rare earths grow, we continue to target investment opportunities with a focus on energy-related minerals including lithium, vanadium, copper, nickel and graphite,” Kovac said.

Idemitsu is also working with Australian renewables developer Energy Estate to explore the potential development of a large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia production and export facility in the state, and is collaborating with AGL on the proposed Muswellbrook pumped hydro project being developed in the NSW Hunter Valley.

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