Graphex Technologies LLC announces plans for a graphite processing plant in suburban Detroit expected to create 125 jobs and give automakers a local supply of a necessary mineral for lithium-ion car batteries.
The company will enter a joint venture with Emerald Energy Solutions LLC to invest $50 million to $60 million in the Warren, Michigan, facility, said John DeMaio, president of Graphex's graphene division.
The 150,000-square-foot plant, expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2023, will have the capacity to produce 15,000 metric tons of coated spherical graphite annually.
It will be among the first large-scale graphite processing plants in the U.S. and the first domestic plant for Graphex, which has roots in Hong Kong.
The move will bring technology and jobs back to the U.S. and drive local supply for the EV industry and EV production.
“Because Graphex has control of that entire midstream, it affords a level of stability and predictability in supply chain," DeMaio said. Stability sounds nice to automakers who have struggled with supply chain upheavals for two years.
The graphite plant will employ a mix of unskilled production labor, skilled mechanical work and management positions with a pay range of $15-$60 per hour.
The company seeks local and state incentives for the facility, which will have production, storage, testing and administrative offices.
The plant will be in a recently renovated, multi-building industrial complex on Hoover Road just north of Eight Mile Road, known as Emerald Business Park. Emerald Energy Solutions, an affiliate of the business park operator, will fund construction and operation of the plant, while also managing governmental and regulatory concerns.
Graphex plans to get its graphite supply from China, where it has a base, and provide the patented technological expertise for processing it.
Although the company does not have any supply contracts in place with Detroit area automakers and battery makers, DeMaio said those discussions are ongoing.