Australian graphite producer Magnis Resources is to “fast track” plans to build a lithium-ion battery plant in New York State after acquiring equipment and raw materials from a former battery site in North Carolina.
Magnis confirmed on 8 February it had completed a successful AUD5 million ($3.9m) capital raising to fund its share of the purchase of the former battery plant in North Carolina.
The plant’s equipment will now be packed and shipped to the Huron Campus in Endicott, formerly occupied by IBM, “where it will be reassembled and re-engineered for battery production at a nominal 1GWh scale”, Magnis said.
The Huron project is being spearheaded by Imperium3NY (IM3NY)— a global consortium including Magnis that wants to build a 15GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing, research and development centre.
Operations are expected to start at Huron in the first half of 2019, Magnis said.
The assets included in the North Carolina purchase included “high quality new and near new equipment from major US and European suppliers”, Magnis said.
Plant re-engineering at Huron “will be directed at incorporating IM3NY’s leading materials and IP processing technologies as well as introducing additional cylindrical battery production beyond that existing for prismatic”.
The plant is currently housed in a facility in North Carolina and “includes all operations from slurry making to coating to cell assembly, formation and testing and even includes module assembly and packing”, Magnis said.
More than $200m was initially invested by the previous owners in the plant, which was built and started full-scale operations in 2016.
Magnis said: “The liquidation sale of the equipment occurred as the previous manufacturers constrained production to bespoke lithium-ion batteries that had limited commercial appeal, while the facility itself was equipped to manufacture large volume batteries for the auto industry or power walls for home usage which are now growing in demand.”
“The IM3NY team thoroughly reviewed the technology and confirmed the procured plant can easily and cost effectively be calibrated for such large volume manufacturing runs,” Magnis said. “As a result, the
IM3NY consortium is of the firm view that this is a low risk, cost-effective and value-accretive transaction.”
Magnis said IM3NY had originally outlined a capital expenditure (CAPEX) cost of $130m for the first stage development of 3GWh of production at Huron. The equipment acquisition deal now allows IM3NY to produce more than 1GWh “at a significantly reduced CAPEX cost of $5m plus removal, re-engineering and reassembly”, Magnis said.
Magnis, which currently owns one third of IM3NY, has now increased its stake in the consortium. The company said it would disclose the level of its increased stake on closure of the lithium plant deal.
BBB reported last week that Magnis would hold a 45% stake in a new company building a 30GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Germany.