Biden administration approves $107 million loan for graphite supplier Tesla

WASHINGTON – A critical minerals company with an agreement to supply Tesla Inc.. with battery-ready graphite secured a conditional loan of up to $107 million from the Biden administration to help fund a plant expansion in the United States.

A US unit of Syrah Resources Ltd. will use the money to expand its plant in Vidalia, Louisiana, to produce enough natural graphite-based active anode material for about 2.5 million electric vehicles by 2040, according to the Department of Energy said Monday in a blog post. The loan comes as the Biden administration seeks to create a national supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.

Melbourne-based Syrah has entered into a four-year offtake agreement with Tesla to sell the majority of the graphite anode material produced from the Vidalia plant, with the option to buy more subject to the agreement. ‘expansion. The facility plans to process graphite from Mozambique to become America’s premier source of graphite anodes for the country’s fast-growing lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle manufacturing industry.

Graphite is a crucial component for lithium-ion batteries, but the United States is 100% dependent on imported graphite since China produces almost all of the high-purity mineral needed to make the batteries, the Department of Health said. energy in the blog.

If finalized, it would represent the first loan from the agency’s advanced technology vehicle manufacturing loan program in more than a decade.

The Biden administration is reviving the agency’s broader lending program that collapsed under former President Donald Trump. Trump had offered to kill the initiative, but then used it to provide critical support to Southern Co.’s Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia.

The loan program office, which has more than $40 billion in lending authority, previously provided $465 million to Tesla, helped fund the nation’s first large-scale solar PV projects, and granted a grant. $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra LLC, a California company that went bankrupt. 2011.

The program offered a $1.04 billion conditional loan guarantee in December to Monolith Inc., a natural gas-to-hydrogen conversion project, marking the first such conditional loan guarantee under President Joe Biden.

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