Australian exploration company Kibaran Resources is planning to set up a pilot plant in Germany next year, aimed at supplying battery-grade graphite to customers in Europe and Asia.
The development comes after Kibaran completed a feasibility study on downstream processing of graphite from its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania.
The study considered the feasibility of using the company’s purification technology for the production of battery graphite.
Kibaran Resources managing director Andrew Spinks said: “Kibaran is now positioned to commercialise its battery graphite processing plans, commencing with a downstream processing pilot plant early next year and I look forward to updating our shareholders as we progress with this exciting addition to our graphite business.”
The company intends to achieve production of 20,000t of spherical graphite per annum, taking into consideration the anticipated growth in demand from the battery sector from 2020.
Based on the study, the project needs an initial investment of $66m and comprises pre-tax net present value (NPV) of $145m and internal rate of return (IRR) of 34.3%.
The new graphite manufacturing facility will be implemented in two phases.
Under the first phase, a pilot plant will be established to conduct further testwork on product qualities, improve the new non-hydrofluoric acid purification technology and complete customer pre-qualification processes.
Through the pilot plant, Kibaran aims to produce 600tpa of unpurified battery-grade graphite by the end of next year.
In the second phase, the plant will be expanded with the construction of a full commercial scale operation in 2019 to ramp-up production to 20,000tpa.