Purified spherical graphite is a key component of lithium-ion batteries, which is why a handful of companies across the world are racing to become the first producers outside of China, as the global wave of demand begins begins to peak.
South Australian company Renascor Resources seems to have taken a lead in the race, announcing that it has raised enough to fund its Siviour battery anode material project to the construction phase, which is set to begin in 2022.
The AUD 15 million ($11.6 million) fundraising was led by institutional investors in Australia and overseas. Their monetary commitments will fund the completion of all technical, regulatory and marketing work streams, as the company works toward reaching a final investment decision on the Siviour project, it said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Renascor’s Siviour project is a vertically integrated battery anode material manufacturing operation in South Australia. It includes the AUD 118 million Siviour graphite mine and concentrator on the Eyre Peninsula. It also includes a $90 million purified spherical graphite (PSG) manufacturing facility in Port Adelaide.
The company is sitting on the world’s second-largest proven reserve of graphite and the largest graphite reserve outside of Africa. It says it will be able to create graphite concentrate at among the lowest costs in the world, “competitive with current Chinese production and advantaged over other developments outside of China.”
There are a handful of other companies vying to get in early, banking on market appetite for diversifying purified spherical graphite supply chains outside of China. Norway, Sweden and Germany are all in the game, and Australian startup International Graphite is well on its way, too.
International Graphite’s CEO Neil Rinaldi believes increased production will drive demand. “There’s room of us, there’s room for others. I think the industry only benefits from having more participants,” he told pv magazine Australia.
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