US-bound graphite goes greener with solar
Syrah cuts deal for solar power generation, storage at Balama Metal Tech News – December 23, 2020
Last updated 12/22/2020 at 3:50pm
Seeking to bring down the cost and carbon dioxide emissions of mining the graphite needed for lithium-ion batteries, Syrah Resources Ltd. has reached an agreement for the installation of solar power generation and battery storage at its Balama Mine in Mozambique.
Currently, graphite is the primary anode material in lithium-ion batteries used to store renewable energy and power electric vehicles. These applications are expected to drive an estimated 500% increase in annual demand of this carbon material by 2050.
With roughly 16.9 million metric tons of graphite hosted in 107.54 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 15.7% graphitic carbon, Balama is one of the world's most significant sources of the graphite needed to meet the demands driven by low-carbon energy and transportation.
To lower the carbon footprint of the graphite mined at Balama, Syrah has entered into an agreement with Solarcentury to install 11.2 megawatts of solar power generation and 8.5Mw of battery storage capacity that will work in conjunction with the diesel power generators that were chosen as a low-risk option to establish the mine.
Given that the diesel generation at Balama is rated at 15Mw, it is expected that the completed solar power generation will handle the bulk of the power needed at the Africa operation.
"Progression of a large-scale solar and battery installation will reduce the operating cost base at Balama and further strengthen the ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) credentials of Balama's natural graphite supply and the future supply from our vertically integrated battery anode material project in Vidalia, USA," said Syrah Resources Managing Director and CEO Shaun Verner.
Being developed in Louisiana, Syrah's Vidalia project will upgrade graphite concentrates produced at Balama into the coated spherical graphite that is needed in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.
More information on the Vidalia project can be read at US graphite anode plant takes vital step in the Dec. 2 edition of Metal Tech News.
Under a memorandum and understanding that establishes the terms and conditions, Solarcentury will finalize the design, and then fund, construct, and operate the solar and battery facility at Balama. Ownership of the facility would transfer to Syrah once the terms of a build, own, operate, and transfer arrangement have been met.