Alabama arrives first graphite processing plant in the US

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) declared Tuesday that her state has landed the first graphite processing plant in the U.S.

In an explanation, Ivey said Alabama agreed with Westwater Resources Inc., a Colorado-based mineral resources organization, to assemble a plant in Coosa County.

Westwater Resources subsidiary Alabama Graphite Products LLC plans to invest $80 million to help construct the first plant in Kellyton, close to Alexander City, and a second period of the project will push the total investment to $124 million.

The construction will begin later this year and is scheduled to be operational before the finish of 2022. The objective of the plant is to produce 7,500 tons of battery-grade graphite every year, as indicated by the statement.

“This plant not only will make Alabama the U.S. leader in graphite production, the go-to place for this important resource in battery manufacturing, it also will elevate our standing even more as a major player in the fast-growing electric vehicle sector,” Ivey said in the statement.

“We’re home to four major auto plants, and the ability to source precious materials in state for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles will be a big plus in attracting other manufacturing jobs to the state.”

Westwater Resources CEO Chris Jones said that he’s appreciative for Ivey’s and other state authorities’ help on the project. “We look forward to being an active member of the business community here for many years to come,” Jones said.

The new graphite plant will make 100 full-time jobs and with hourly wages up to $21.25 an hour.