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Alabama Graphite Products LLC and its parent company, Westwater Resources Inc., announced this week that they had broken ground on their facility in Kellyton, Alabama, where they will be processing graphite utilized in batteries for electric vehicles. The facility will be the first in the United States to process raw graphite, as most graphite imports are currently from China. 

When speaking about the $202 million plant, the companies’ Chief Executive Officer Chad Potter said, “The construction of this plant is the result of a lot of work, cooperation, planning and vision by numerous people over a number of years.” He also thanked “state and local partners” who made the groundbreaking possible. 

The lithium-ion batteries found in electric vehicles require around 200 pounds of refined graphite, which acts as their anode. Since EV batteries and other electronics need this material, graphite was previously deemed a “critical strategic material” by the U.S. government. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was present at the groundbreaking ceremony and said that the plant will “make Alabama an even bigger player in the fast-growing electric vehicle sector.” Automakers who have large operations in Alabama include Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. 

Ivey also noted her administration’s push toward “economic development” in Alabama and said, “This new manufacturing facility demonstrates, the fruits of that labor are paying dividends for the people of Alabama.”

The companies project that the facility will be able to produce 7,500 metric tons of refined graphite each year and will have at least 100 employees who will make an average wage of over $21 per hour throughout Phase 1.

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