Alabama Graphite Corp. ("Alabama Graphite" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has commenced work on production of coated spherical graphite (CSPG) for the use in anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries.
Although there are a large number of uses for graphite currently, the main interest has come from Lithium Ion Batteries. There is approximately 10 times more graphite in a lithium ion battery than lithium. In fact the supply critical material for a lithium ion battery is graphite, not lithium. The United States Government and the European Union have identified graphite as a supply critical material. China produces 75% of the flake graphite consumed today, and approximately 90% of spherical graphite (SPG) used in batteries. Industrial Minerals Magazine and Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimate that 60,000 tonnes per year of graphite is consumed in the manufacture of anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries, and that figure is broken down to approximately 35,000 tonnes of natural graphite and 25,000 tonnes of synthetic graphite. It is widely recognized that the SPG manufactured in China is not the result of environmentally sustainable processes. Synthetic graphite is made from a by-product of refining oil, in an energy intensive process, resulting in a very large carbon dioxide footprint. Both sources are not compatible with Western environmental standards of manufacturing. Companies making electric vehicles and other green energy products are understandably being held accountable for the environmental footprint of their input materials. This trend is growing, as is the market, opening the door for environmentally sustainable production of graphite in the West, namely Alabama, USA. Alabama Graphite has the potential to be the first and only graphite producer in the continental United States. The current world consumption of flake graphite is 400,000 tonnes per year. The market for batteries alone, beyond 2020, is estimated to be 1.7 million tonnes.
Don Baxter, P.Eng., Co-Chief Executive Officer stated: "One of my first tasks upon joining Alabama Graphite was to initiate and fast track work on battery ready graphite. This market has been identified as the one with the largest growth potential while providing the potential for much higher margins. Alabama Graphite is now one of very few companies with management that has actual graphite experience, including mining, processing operations and now value-added graphite production.
The Company intends to produce and test anode ready graphite from both Coosa and Bama properties to compare results and ensure compatibility. Preliminary indications from the graphite concentrate produced from both the Coosa and Bama properties show promise for battery applications due to the high grade of all the size fractions. This is a key indicator that the graphite layers or "pathways" are clear and will allow lithium ions to flow without restriction. The ongoing work will define a scalable process and ultimately determine the CAPEX and OPEX of a large scale production facility. The process will involve sizing, shaping, purification and coating the graphite. The unique aspect of this process is that it can also produce more than one value added graphite product. Additional products could include micronized graphite for powder metals and composite materials, purified large flake for high value applications. Alabama Graphite won't be tied to just one product if markets demand growth in other areas. The intention will be to value add as much of the production as possible.
Don Baxter, P.Eng.,Co-CEO and a Director of the Company, who is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has approved the disclosure of the scientific or technical information contained in this press release.