A new micronising plant has been commissioned in Collie, Western Australia by International Graphite, marking a milestone in the development of a domestic graphite industry.
The qualification-scale microniser –set to produce 200t per annum – is the largest in Australia and will be the first to produce graphite products in Australia for customer acceptance testing.
The new plant is the precursor to a 4,000t per annum commercial micronising operation International Graphite is planning at Collie. Construction of the facility, at an estimated capital cost of $12.5 million, could begin as early as mid-2024, subject to funding.
Micronised graphite is used in many industrial products, from lubricants, polymers, plastics and ceramics, to lightweight structural materials and fire resistant building materials.
As well as being a critical conductive additive in the cathode of lithium-ion batteries, micronised graphite is also the first stage in producing battery anode material for battery-powered technologies, particularly electric vehicles and green energy storage.
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 per cent owned Springdale Graphite Project, near Hopetoun in Western Australia.”
Mr Worland said that micronising graphite, initially using third party concentrates, will enable International Graphite to develop a customer base, gain operating experience, build markets for future by-products, and generate cashflo ahead of the launch of its proposed integrated Springdale-Collie operations.
International Graphite will now commence producing product samples for testing by prospective domestic and international customers.