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The Federal Government, through Export Finance Australia, has approved two loans totalling $239 million for Australian companies to produce highly purified graphite in Western Australia and South Australia.

The loans are approved under the Government’s $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility, which was established in September 2021 to assist the development of Australian critical minerals projects and support the resources jobs of the future.

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the loans will pay long-term dividends to the national economy.

“The potential of the critical minerals sector is enormous, and these loans will support two significant projects that will expand Australia’s footprint and reputation in this rapidly growing industry,” Pitt said.

“It will build on a resources sector that already provides over 365,000 direct jobs for Australians and is forecast to contribute a record $379 billion in exports this financial year.”

Renascor Resources will receive a $185 million loan facility to support the development of the Siviour Graphite Project in SA.

EcoGraf will receive the remaining $54 million to support the planned expansion of the company’s WA Australian Battery Anode Material Facility to 20,000 tonnes per annum.

The Siviour Graphite Project has previously been granted Major Project Status by the Government, in recognition of its potential to contribute to Australia’s Critical Mineral Strategy and Resource Technology and Critical Mineral Processing National Manufacturing Priority Roadmap.

“We are extremely pleased to have received conditional approval from the Australian Government for this project-enabling loan facility and to receive such approval under the Australian Government’s $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility,” Renascor managing director David Christensen said.

“The Siviour Graphite Project represents an important opportunity for Australia, and South Australia in particular, to develop a world-class, globally competitive downstream processing capability in a critical mineral that is fundamental to the development of the electric vehicle revolution.”

EcoGraf’s new facility has also previously received Major Project Status and has been granted Lead Agency status by the WA Government.

The facility is to be constructed in the Rockingham-Kwinana Strategic Industrial Area, 30km south of Perth and will utilise the company’s environmentally superior and cost-effective purification technology to produce high-quality battery anode material using natural flake graphite for export to Asia, Europe and North America.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the projects will promote Australia as a trusted supplier of critical minerals to the world.

“The Government’s support for these projects through the $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility is a clear demonstration of our faith in the potential of Australia’s critical minerals sector,” Tehan said.

“At a time of booming global demand for smartphones, electric vehicles and other technologies, this commitment from the Australian Government positions Australia strongly into the future in the critical minerals sector.”