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28/05/2024
Mining News

Battery-grade graphite production in Africa

EcoGraf is exploring four potential locations, namely Dar es Salaam, Kwala, Ifakara and Mahenge in Tanzania, to develop a 20ktpy battery anode material (BAM) processing facility to produce unpurified SPG.

Graphite concentrate feedstock for the facility will be sourced from Ecograf’s Epanko graphite mine project creating an integrated supply chain in Tanzania. Additionally, through a framework agreement, the company is collaborating with POSCO to help advance its graphite operations. Under this arrangement, POSCO will contribute expertise in construction, engineering, financing, and investment, while Ecograf commits to supplying 7.5-40ktpy graphite concentrate over 10 years once operational.

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In the process of converting graphite concentrate into spherical graphite, there are concerns regarding energy consumption and CO2 emissions. However, Ecograf plans on utilising hydro-energy to power its facility, claiming a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions during the shaping process. The power supply will be provided by Tanzania’s Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) which is currently in the process of expanding its capacity by 2,100MW through the Julius Nyerere Hydro Project, due for completion in 2024.

Ecograf is currently finalising the preferred site, taking into account customary regulatory approvals and Tanzania’s Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) incentives. After mechanical shaping, the spherical graphite would then be shipped to the company’s purification battery manufacturing hub planned in Europe, Asia, or North America to produce the active anode material (AAM) required by lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

Also in Africa, NextSource is aiming to come online to produce spherical graphite next year. The company is in the process of constructing a downstream 14.4ktpy BAM facility in Port Loui, Mauritius to produce coated spherical graphite (CSPG) and plans to commence production in Q3 2024. Overall, there is a growing trend of investments directed towards the development of graphite mine projects in Africa, with interested parties originating from all major economies.

 

Source: project blue

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