Syrah Resources on track to become largest fully integrated graphite producer outside China

Syrah Resources chief executive Shaun Verner has praised the US and Australian governments for supporting the ASX-listed firm’s plans to develop the world’s largest fully integrated graphite operation outside of China.

Last month, the US Department of Energy announced it would provide Syrah with a US$107 million loan for the expansion of a battery materials processing plant in Louisiana. Verner said the Australian government helped to initiate talks regarding the loan with the Department under the Trump administration.

The chief executive told Australian publications The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the US government’s appetite for building a localised critical minerals industry has intensified under the Biden administration.

“Ultimately, what the [US] government is trying to support is that the automakers and battery manufacturers have security and diversification of supply,” Verner said.

Syrah operates a globally significant graphite mine in Mozambique which is capable of producing 350,000 tonnes of natural graphite a year for five decades. The company has also struck a supply agreement with electric vehicle giant Tesla.

Owing to its vital role in lithium-ion battery anodes, graphite is among dozens of minerals the US and Australian governments consider critical to the clean energy transition, future sovereignty and economic security.

Syrah’s agreement with Tesla could see it provide the carmaker with 8,000 tonnes a year of anode material for four years, with production due to start in the third quarter of 2023.