NT sets up its first battery cathode factory

Taiwanese manufacturer of battery materials Aleees and ASX-listed miner Avenira have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Territory Government to develop the world’s first high-end battery cathode manufacturing facility.

The deal will see the trio explore a lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery cathode manufacturing facility in Darwin, with a final investment decision for the pilot facility expected in early 2023.

When operational, the pilot facility will be capable of manufacturing up to 10,000 tonnes of LFP battery cathode material each year, representing a significant economic opportunity for the territory as demand for electric vehicles and household batteries increases.

The government has estimated that the project will generate more than $4 billion in revenue each year and create up to 1,000 jobs – up from 100 initial jobs – once production at the plant is increased.

As part of the MoU, the government plans to work “proactively” with Aleees and Avenira, along with their supply chain partners, to identify a suitable site in Darwin for the installation, at proximity to necessary infrastructure such as water and electricity.

It is also possible to develop a manufacturing plant in Darwin capable of manufacturing “up to 200,000 tonnes a year”, although any such facility will be built in phases over the next 10 years, the government has said.

Avenira has engaged engineering firm Bechtel to carry out a scoping study of a “paste-grade phosphoric acid plant and a battery-grade lithium iron phosphate powder plant,” it said. said in a separate statement.

Chief Minister Natasha Fyles described the potential plant as a “significant economic and strategic opportunity for the Northern Territory”, which would position it as Australia’s “next home for advanced manufacturing”.

“Growing demand and the shift towards renewable energy, battery storage and the use of high-tech products have led global organizations to seek to establish diversified, reliable and stable supply chains,” he said. she stated.

“The project will position the territory as Australia’s next hotbed for advanced manufacturing, develop new skills and jobs, and support our goal of achieving a $40 billion economy by 2030.

“With the potential to create 1,000 jobs, this project will benefit Top End Territorians in Barkly with the manufacturing plant to be built in Darwin, which will source phosphate exclusively from the Wonarah Phosphate Project in Barkly.”

Avenira Executive Chairman Brett Clark said the MoU “opens the door for Avenira to learn from Alees about LFP battery cathode manufacturing technology and leverage that experience to optimize battery production. ‘Wonarah Project Phosphoric Acid’.

Aleees Australia Chairman Brandon Chang said the cooperation would “strengthen the development of the lithium battery industry in Australia, promote high-tech development in the field of green energy” and have an “impact very significant” on the global supply chain.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email.

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