Alabama Graphite Products-Westwater Resources Build Coosa County, Alabama, Graphite Processing Plant
The plant which will include a second phase pushing total investment to $125 million, will be built in the Kellyton area, near Alexander City, by Alabama Graphite Products, a subsidiary of Alabama Graphite Corp. and its parent company, Westwater Resources, Inc. Construction is expected to begin later in 2021.
In addition to making Alabama home to one of the first large-scale producers of refined graphite in the U.S., Alabama Graphite plans to mine raw graphite in western Coosa County in part of what was known as the “Alabama Graphite Belt.” Westwater Resources acquired mineral rights to approximately 42,000 graphite-deposit-rich acres in 2018 and expects to begin mining operations by 2028.
“All of the graphite used and needed in the United States by the electric vehicle industry is imported,” said Westwater’s President and CEO Chris Jones. “Most of it is from China, where the media have reported both worker and environmental issues. Domestic production of graphite reduces our dependence on foreign sources. Even though the raw graphite we will process into battery-grade material will be imported initially, none of it will be from China. We have secured agreements from other providers.”
The agreements signed by Governor Kay Ivey will provide Alabama Graphite Products with jobs and tax credits under the Alabama Jobs Acts, totaling up to an estimated $29.9 million over 15 years. In addition, Alabama Industrial Development and Training will provide Alabama Graphite Products up to $925,000 in job-training and employee recruitment incentives.
Local incentives to be provided by the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, the Lake Martin Area Industrial Development Authority, Coosa County and Alexander City are estimated to total more than $4.7 million, and are to include abatement of 10 years of noneducational property taxes and the use of 80 acres in the Lake Martin Regional Industrial Park at no cost. In addition, a bridge will be built to provide additional access to the industrial park.
“Attracting an operation like this means a great deal to the region,” noted Tallapoosa County Commissioner and Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance Chairman T.C. Coley Jr.
Water and wastewater treatment will be provided by Alexander City. In support of this effort, Alabama Graphite Products has entered into a public-private partnership to upgrade Alexander City’s wastewater treatment system with a contribution of $400,000 and prepayment of $100,000 in treatment fees.
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