Alabama Graphite is seeking to position itself as one of the preferred suppliers of natural, battery-ready graphite to the burgeoning electric vehicle and defence industries of the US. The company’s Coosa project is the only graphite project in the contiguous US and has proven its coated spherical purified graphite product to be suitable for use in lithium-ion battery (LiB) manufacturing. Coosa’s US location is also aligned with the Trump administration’s broad domestic policy to “Buy American”.
End-products proved viable for battery use Coosa will produce two main types of refined graphite product to service the highest-growth graphite market (ie battery manufacturing): a coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG) and a purified micronized graphite (PMG), and potentially a silicon-oxide enhanced CSPG and delaminated expanded graphite (DEXDG) conductivity enhancement products for LiB cathode applications. Coosa CSPG samples have already been proven to be superior to synthetic equivalents in independent electrochemical testing and also, additional testing of Coosa graphite deems it suitable for the highest purity requirements (eg US defence applications).
Alabama’s CSPG to be sold direct to battery makers
The year-on-year 2015 growth rate in the global electric vehicle market was >70%. A lower rate of 60% per year is required for European countries to achieve their various greenhouse-gas emission targets by 2020 as legislated by the COP21 Paris climate accord. With the decrease in battery costs and increases in battery energy density, a positive future for graphite is clear. The value-add that comes with delivering battery-ready graphite (US$9,000/t) to end-users allows Alabama to compete directly with synthetic graphite (US$20,000/t) suppliers at a lower price.
Price discounts only 14% of Phase 2 value Coosa’s PEA contemplates a two-phased development approach, allowing Alabama to tailor its output to the requirements of prevailing CSPG graphite market growth rates. This is critical when the size of the electric vehicle market is still relatively minuscule compared to its fossil fuel counterparts. Phase 1 of Coosa’s development (starting, pending capital raisings, in FY19) produces 5ktpa, and valuing this cash flow stream results in a fully diluted value of C$0.56/share. Valuing cash flows across the total life of mine (LOM) of 27 years, with Phase 2 developed via internal cashflows, results in a value of C$1.01/share. Both values use a CSPG price of US$9,000/t, a PMG price of US$2,000/t and a 10% discount rate to reflect general equity risk.