Alabama Graphite Products held an event this week to mark the beginning of construction on the Coosa County, AL facility.

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Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite Products CEO Chad Potter speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for a first-of-its-kind graphite processing facility in Kellyton, AL.Image courtesy of Alabama Governor's Office/Hal Yaeger

Westwater Resources subsidiary Alabama Graphite Products LLC hosted an event on April 19 to break ground on its new $202 million graphite processing plant at the Lake Martin Regional Industrial Park in Kellyton, AL. The facility will supply graphite to makers of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), electronics, and other goods.

“The construction of this plant is the result of a lot of work, cooperation, planning, and vision by numerous people over a number of years,” Chad Potter, president and chief executive officer of Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite Products, said in a release posted by the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Gov. Kay Ivey commended the project at the event and said the plant will help to support the car makers who have a presence in the state.

“Alabama, which is home to Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Mazda, is among the top four states in the nation in automobile production,” Gov. Ivey stated. “This plant will make Alabama an even bigger player in the fast-growing electric vehicle sector. It also creates jobs and will serve as a catalyst for economic development in the region.”

Operations are expected to begin at the Coosa County plant in the second quarter of 2023. The facility will be the first of its kind in the United States. Battery-grade graphite used in lithium-ion batteries is currently imported from China. The opening of the new plant will support the development of a domestic supply chain for natural-grade graphite.

“We have purchased and renovated two large existing buildings adjacent to the plant site; one for warehousing and logistical uses, the other for our laboratory and administrative offices,” Potter added.

Plans for the facility were first announced in 2021, Powder & Bulk Solids reported. The company will mine raw graphite in western Coosa County, where it acquired mineral rights to 42,000 graphite-deposit-rich acres in 2018. Operations at the new mine are slated to commence in 2028. Westwater’s processing plant will have an initial annual capacity of 7,500 tn that will be expanded to 15,000 tn. Every battery in an electric vehicle contains 175 to 200 lb of graphite.

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Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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