The NT Will Soon Be Home to an EV Battery Facility, and a Lot of Crocs

The NT Will Soon Be Home to an EV Battery Facility, and a Lot of Crocs

A battery manufacturing facility is being planned in the Northern Territory, as a memorandum of understanding between Taiwanese battery manufacturer Alees, the Northern Territory government and Australia gold and phosphates company Avenira has been signed.

This memorandum of understanding outlines the “final investment decision” on the Northern Territory battery manufacturing pilot project, kicking off early next year, according to the media release.

The plant won’t construct the batteries in their entirety, but will instead be used to fabricate lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cathode materials. Those cathodes are essential to electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems.

“Increasing demand and the transition to renewable energy, battery storage and use of high technology products has resulted in global organisations looking to establish diversified, reliable and stable supply chains,” said Northern Territory chief minister Natasha Fyles.

The plant will be situated in Darwin and will source phosphate from Avenira’s Wonarah Phosphate Project in the Barkly region. It’s estimated that the manufacturing facility will create 100 jobs, but could grow to 1,000 jobs and could generate more than $4 billion in revenue.

“This MOU opens the door for Avenira to learn from Aleees about LFP battery cathode manufacturing technology. We can leverage this experience to optimise the production of phosphoric acid from the Wonarah Project and develop downstream assets to produce Australia’s first LFP precursor cathode material,” said executive chairman of Avenira Limited, Brett Clark.

“One of the most exciting opportunities created by renewable energy technologies like cathode materials is the ability to change the world’s sustainability,” added the head of the Aleees’ Australian arm, Brandon Chang.

Not that the companies would struggle to sell cathodes, mind you, as electric vehicle production and battery storage projects expand drastically around the world as countries switch to electrification.

Meanwhile in the Northern Territory, the Sun Cable project, a gigantic energy transfer project being built out between the Barkly Region and Singapore, is set to install thousands of solar panels in an attempt to be the world’s largest solar generation and transmission project. Such a project will need production plants like this cathode material facility.

The announcement also comes at a time when Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen is floating the idea of domestic electric vehicle manufacturing.

There are already manufacturers giving this a go, and Australia’s abundance of rare earth elements and lithium could help make us a superpower in the electrification space, but much of the work is still yet to be done. The Federal government also has plans to make Australian battery manufacturing “as recognisable as Holden”.

The battery manufacturing pilot project in the Northern Territory will kick off early next year.

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