June 4, 2020 / 1:31 AM / a month ago

Australia's EcoGraf inks graphite battery material supply deal with Thyssenkrupp unit

FILE PHOTO: Thyssenkrupp's logo is seen outside the elevator test tower in Rottweil, Germany, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australian graphite explorer EcoGraf Ltd (EGR.AX) said on Thursday it had signed an agreement to supply graphite products used in making batteries to a unit of German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp AG (TKAG.DE), sending its shares more than 32% higher in early trade.

EcoGraf said Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading GmbH would buy purified spherical graphite battery anode material, used in lithium ion batteries, from its Kwinana plant in Western Australia, but did not disclose any financial details of the deal.

Global demand for green energy continues to rise with countries taking steps to ensure supply chains for battery minerals remain intact. The U.S. State Department hopes to expand a strategic minerals initiative for the same purpose, a top diplomat said on Tuesday.

EcoGraf said the proposed battery graphite purification plant in Kwinana would be the first facility of its kind outside China, which is the world’s largest producer of graphite.

The company added that this agreement supports the domestic drive to produce battery mineral locally.

Australia is also a part of the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, a group of countries trying to develop battery and other high-tech metal production and reduce the world’s reliance on China for the same.

Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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