State Watch

Alabama lands first graphite processing plant in US

Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyAlabama lands first graphite processing plant in US Alabama's GOP Gov. Kay Ivey to seek reelection Vaccination tracking apps ineffective, amplify inequalities, pose privacy issues: report MORE (R) announced Tuesday that her state has landed the first graphite processing plant in the U.S.

In a statement, Ivey said Alabama reached an agreement with Westwater Resources Inc., a Colorado-based mineral resources company, to build a plant in Coosa County.

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

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The construction will start later this year and is slated to be operational by the end of 2022. The the goal of the plant is to produce 7,500 tons of battery-grade graphite each year, according to 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 thankful for Ivey's and other state officials' help on the project. “We look forward to being an active member of the business community here for many years to come,” Jones said. 

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

Updated at 7:28 p.m.