Australia’s Syrah Resources said it plans to expand its Louisiana graphite plant after receiving a $219.8 million grant as part of a US push for electric vehicle production.
Syrah will increase the size of its Vidalia plant by four times, delivering greater volumes of graphite used for electric vehicle batteries and other components.
“We are also very pleased to announce that Syrah has been selected for a Department of Energy grant of up to $220 million,” Syrah Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wells said during an earnings call on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced $2.8 billion in grants to 20 companies including Syrah to domestically produce and process lithium, graphite and nickel, key minerals in the United States’ push to reduce dependence on China, the world’s biggest producer of electric vehicle batteries.
In July, Syrah, which mines graphite in Mozambique, signed a $102.1 million loan deal with the US Energy Department for the ongoing construction of its 11,250 tonne per year Vidalia active anode material (AAM) plant and now plans a further upgrade.
Syrah chief executive Shaun Verner said the company also expected to benefit from the US Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, which will offer tax credits and financial support to electric vehicle material producers.
In December 2021, Syrah signed an off-take agreement with Tesla for the annual supply of 8,000 tonnes of graphite anode material from Vidalia, and also has agreements in place with Ford Motor Co and South Korea’s SK On.
The Vidalia plant is expected to start production in the third quarter of 2023.
- Reuters with additional editing from Alfie Habershon