International Graphite has commenced the wet commissioning of its new 200 tonnes per annum (tpa) graphite micronising plant in Collie, Western Australia (WA).
This development marks a milestone for the domestic graphite industry, as it will be the first facility in Australia to produce graphite products for customer acceptance testing.
The qualification-scale microniser, which is the largest in the country, is a precursor to a planned 4,000tpa commercial operation.
International Graphite managing director and CEO Andrew Worland said: “We are delighted to have successfully produced commercial grade micronised products from this new facility, the first of its type in Australia.
“We see commercial micronising as an important initial step in our strategy to produce advanced battery anode materials at Collie using concentrate feed from our 100% owned Springdale Graphite Project, near Hopetoun in Western Australia.
“Micronising graphite, initially using third-party concentrates, will enable the Company to develop a customer base, gain operating experience, build markets for future by-products, and generate cashflow ahead of the launch of the proposed integrated Springdale-Collie operations.”
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The new plant is set to produce micronised graphite, a material integral to various industrial applications, including lubricants, polymers, plastics, ceramics, and fire-resistant building materials.
It also plays a crucial role as a conductive additive in lithium-ion battery cathodes and is a key component in manufacturing battery anode material for electric vehicles and green energy storage solutions.
The construction of the larger commercial micronising facility, with an estimated capital cost of A$12.5m ($8.1m), could begin as early as mid-2024, pending funding.
This expansion is expected to further cement Australia’s position in the global graphite market, particularly in the battery-powered technology sector.
WA Premier Roger Cook said: “Congratulations to International Graphite on this important next step.
“It’s great to see how funding through the state government’s Collie Futures Fund is encouraging businesses like International Graphite to choose Collie as a base.
“As part of a Just Transition, my government is committed to working with the community and industry to set up Collie for a strong future, and create quality local jobs across a range of industries.”