Westwater’s Coosa Project in Alabama is expected to be the first U.S. domestic producer and processor of battery graphite materials


Westwater will start pilot plant programme for battery graphite. (Credit: Robert M. Lavinsky (1972–)/Wikipedia)

Westwater Resources, an energy materials development company, announced the commencement of its graphite pilot plant program. Westwater’s Coosa Project in Alabama is expected to be the first U.S. domestic producer and processor of battery graphite materials.

In November 2019, Westwater announced it had engaged Dorfner Anzaplan of Hirschau, Germany to advance the development of processes needed to purify graphite concentrates and to produce the Westwater’s battery grade products: ULTRA-PMGTM, ULTRA-SPGTM and ULTRA-DEXDGTM . Dorfner Anzaplan is an internationally recognized and highly regarded organization that specializes in high-purity industrial and strategic metals businesses. Dorfner Anzaplan employs state-of-the-art analytical methods and facilities and uses innovative processing technologies to provide effective solutions tailored to their clients’ requirements. All testing has been completed and, going forward, all required manufacturing equipment has been or is being ordered; construction to build an operational pilot plant will begin shortly.

Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is an incredible milestone for Westwater. Positive laboratory test results over the last year has enabled the Company to forge ahead with its plan to construct and operate a pilot plant that will make battery graphite materials in quantity using processes that simulate full production conditions. With the assistance of our technology partners, including Dorfner Anzaplan, a pilot plant will be designed and constructed in September-October of 2020 and is on track to operate later this year with the intention of making material available to our potential customers in quantities and of a quality suitable for testing and qualification. Successful completion of the pilot plant program, and customer qualification of graphite products from the plant, will position Westwater to begin a feasibility study that designs a commercial-scale plant, anticipated to be complete mid-year 2021. The commercial plant is expected to be commissioned in late 2022, producing this critical component for today’s high-performance battery applications. We have made graphite samples available to a number of potential customers for testing, and these tests have been successful. We believe our graphite materials can garner a significant global market share as we move forward.”

Westwater is developing proprietary processes for the production of battery grade graphite from non-Chinese sources that are designed to manufacture high performing products while ensuring a sustainable environmental footprint and low production costs. Test work on the products from these processes has been performed already in laboratories in Germany and the United States, and those results show that the performance of the Coosa Project’s graphite is on par with or exceeds that of currently available battery products. The next step in Westwater’s development process is the operation of a pilot plant that is designed to process approximately 30-tonnes of graphite concentrate and to produce more than ten metric tons of ULTRA-PMGTM, ULTRA-SPGTM and ULTRA-DEXDGTM products, now scheduled for later this year and the first part of 2021.

Commitments have been received from the various vendors involved in the project and long lead time items are in the process of being ordered. The 30-tonnes of graphite concentrate has been purchased and will be transported to Dorfner Anzaplan’s facility for September delivery. The Company will provide updates on this exciting project over the coming weeks and months. Funding for this effort is expected to come from existing financing instruments presently in place with Westwater.

Source: Company Press Release