Stored energy specialist Kibaran Resources Limited (ASX: KNL) has won Western Australian Government for its EcoGraf Battery Graphite Project .
The company has revealed that WA Premier Mark McGowan has requested the State’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) provide lead agency support to Kibaran as it develops the project.
Mr McGowan said the Kwinana-based project aligned with the government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy.
“The potential to produce battery grade graphite from the Ecograf Battery Graphite Project presents a significant step in diversifying Western Australia’s downstream processing activities and contribution to the global battery value chain,” the Premier said.
JTSI is the lead agency for State-significant projects and major resource and infrastructure projects where the proposed investment is significant or of strategic importance to Western Australia.
Kibaran plans to build the graphite processing plant on Perth’s Kwinana industrial strip. The project is based upon feasibility and engineering studies completed by Western Australian Engineering group GR Engineering.
The project has a forecast up-front capital cost of US$22.8m for an initial 5,000tpa, followed by a further US$49.2m to expand production to 20,000tpa of battery graphite. Pre-tax net present value is US$141m, generating an internal rate of return of 36.6 per cent and annual EBITDA of US$35m.
Kilbaran says it expects to make a Final Investment on the project early next calendar year and first production is scheduled for early 2021.
LandCorp, the Western Australian Government’s land development agency, is in the process of allocating Kibaran 6.7ha site in Kwinana to lease. This will enable the Company to expand the plant and undertake further downstream development such as a coating plant, which would add further value to the battery spherical graphite.
Kibaran Managing Director Andrew Spinks said the Western Australia Government’s support would help the Company secure the remaining pre-development approvals and conclude negotiations with Australian and international stakeholders.
“It is intended that the Kwinana facility will import natural flake graphite from existing producers and turn it into battery (spherical) graphite using the company’s patented, environmentally friendly EcoGraf process,” Mr Spinks said.
Battery graphite is the graphite product used in the manufacturing of anodes for lithium-ion batteries. It is a 99.95% pure graphite product which is shaped and purified to meet the stringent physical and chemical specifications required by battery anode manufacturers enabling it to withstand the intense operating conditions of a battery in an electric vehicle. The final product is intended to be exported to lithium-ion battery customers in Asia, Europe and the United States.