Following a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, April 19, construction has officially kicked off for a new $202 million graphite processing plant in Coosa County. The first-of-its-kind facility will produce an essential material for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Do you know what it is? Read on to find out more.
Electric vehicles are steadily becoming a new normal, with major companies like Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai shifting gears to the gasless alternative.
Westwater Resources and its subsidiary, Alabama Graphite Products LLC, are helping to further localize the production of electric vehicles with this new project.
At this upcoming plant, raw graphite will be processed into refined, battery-grade graphite for use in electric vehicle batteries and more.
The state-of-the-art facility will be located off US 280 in Coosa County at the Lake Martin Regional Industrial Park.
“This plant will make Alabama an even bigger player in the fast-growing electric vehicle sector. It also creates jobs and will serve as a catalyst for economic development in the region, which my administration has worked tirelessly over the years to bring to the state.”Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey
Once completed, the facility’s expected to create 100 jobs with an estimated hourly wage of around $21.
First of its kind
Previous to this project, there were no producers of natural-grade graphite in the US, forcing the companies to rely on imports.
Now, Coosa County is home to the first graphite processing plant of its kind, helping produce what the US government declared a “critical strategic mineral”.
According to Westwater Resources, about 175-200 pounds of graphite is needed for each electric vehicle.
In addition to the processing plant, the company is exploring a graphite deposit in Coosa County, which they acquired approximately 41,900 acres of in 2018. They expect to begin mining operations by the end of 2028
“As our investment in millions of dollars and commitment to invest even more indicates, we are firmly committed to Alabama and this community, and we look forward to being here for many years to come.”Chad Potter, President and CEO, Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite Products LLC
EVs in Alabama
With this project in the works, electric vehicle innovation and production in Alabama is ramping up.
In a world-premiere livestream on Tuesday, April 19, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new luxury all-electric EQS-SUV. It’s being manufactured in Tuscaloosa County’s Mercedes’ Vance plant, and the batteries are made in the recently opened facility in Bibb County.
To date, Mercedes has invested more than $7 billion in Alabama, including $1 billion to open the Tuscaloosa battery plant and an upgraded production line to produce EVs.
Find out more about Alabama-made EVs:
- Mercedes-Benz to unveil new Alabama-built electric vehicle
- Hyundai to add 2 new electric vehicles to Alabama production lineup
- Mercedes-Benz opens battery factory for Alabama-built electric vehicles, creating 600 local jobs
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