Australia-based Syrah Resources has started the production of active anode material (AAM) at its 11.25ktpa Vidalia AAM facility located in Louisiana, US.

The operations team at the Australian company has been involved in the commissioning and production of the Vidalia plant’s various process areas over several months, as each part of the plant became suitable for handover.

Syrah Resources has produced unpurified spherical graphite from the front-end milling area since October last year to build an inventory of precursor value-added material before commissioning the purification and furnace areas in January 2024.

The company produced its first purified spherical graphite material last month.

Besides, the heating cycle for the first furnace line began in early January 2024 and the carbonisation of Syrah Resources’ first pitch-coated purified spherical graphite is completed.

Syrah Resources managing director and CEO Shaun Verner said: “Our 11.25ktpa AAM Vidalia operation is strategic for both Syrah and the North American battery supply chain and is the foundation of our downstream growth strategy.

“This strategy is supported by strong EV-driven demand globally, recognition of the importance of independent natural graphite AAM critical mineral supply, and differentiation in terms of emissions intensity of production and provenance of supply.”

According to Syrah Resources, the Vidalia facility is the first vertically integrated natural graphite AAM supplier outside China. The plant is processing natural graphite from the company’s Balama graphite operation in Mozambique.

The company will also deliver 8kpta AAM from the Vidalia plant to Tesla under the existing offtake agreement. It is subject to production ramp-up and finalising qualification.

Furthermore, Syrah Resources is advancing transition engineering, permitting and other long-lead procurement activities on expanding the Vidalia plant’s production capacity to 45ktpa AAM.

This includes 11.25ktpa AAM ahead of a final investment decision (FID) proposal to be considered by the company’s board.