Ecograf explores development of local battery anode material plant in Vietnam

Australian graphite company EcoGraf Limited (ASX: EGR; FSE: FMK; OTCQX: ECGFF) is now targeting Vietnam as another potential manufacturing location for its EcoGraf HFFree battery anode technology. Ecograf says it has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Vietnam-based VinES Energy Solutions Joint Stock Company (VinES). VinES is part of VinGroup, the largest private conglomerate in Vietnam, together with VinFast, a global electric vehicle manufacturer. The agreement covers raw material supply, product off-take, investment and financing.

VinES operates a lithium-ion gigafactory in Vietnam, and the agreement provides an opportunity to support VinES’ expansion plans in the US market. Should a joint study of the Vietnam facility yield a positive result, both partners plan to enter into a binding agreement to jointly develop a supply chain for battery anodes in Vietnam.

VinES and EcoGraf will jointly evaluate local Vietnamese graphite sources for production. The ability to use local BAM raw material offers numerous advantages through lower production and transportation costs. There is also the potential to combine Ecograf’s Epanko graphite with material from Vietnam to develop a scalable, localised supply chain.

Ecograf explores development of local battery anode material plant in Vietnam

Tanzanian graphite from Ecograf’s Epanko project could supply battery anode plants around the world – in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Europe and the US.

EcoGraf Managing Director Andrew Spinks said, “Our team is excited about this opportunity as Vietnam has excellent potential to host an integrated supply chain for anode materials and be a regional centre for anode materials manufacturing. Our previous feasibility studies on Vietnam have shown very competitive cost structures, high ESG criteria and an attractive investment policy. We are excited to partner with VinES, a leading lithium-ion battery manufacturer in Vietnam that shares our vision and values. More importantly, our businesses are highly complementary and our collaboration should enable both parties to strengthen their position in the supply chain for battery materials for electric vehicles. We look forward to working with VinES to develop a highly competitive business with compelling ESG properties in Vietnam.”

Ms Pham Thuy Linh, CEO of VinES, said, “Building an integrated and local battery supply chain is our main focus to create a strong foundation for VinES’ sustainable growth. We are excited to partner with EcoGraf, a leading diversified battery anode manufacturer with proprietary environmentally friendly anode manufacturing technologies. EcoGraf’s long-standing expertise in graphite and its state-of-the-art, low-emission purification technology are an excellent complement to our business. A potential battery anode material facility near our existing operations in Vietnam not only increases operational synergies and flexibility for VinES, but also demonstrates that Vietnam is an advantageous destination for battery supply chain partners to establish their manufacturing facilities.”

Developing a Vietnam Battery Hub

Vietnam is an emerging economic power in Southeast Asia and is considered a favourable battery manufacturing hub that has attracted the interest of the US government.

Vietnam is positioning itself, given the emergence of EV OEM VinFast and lithium-ion battery manufacturer VinES, to develop a regional battery hub that leverages the country’s competitive cost structure, infrastructural advantages, central geographic location and favourable investment policies.

Originally established to provide battery support to VinGroup’s electric car business (VinFast), VinES has evolved over the past two years into an integrated clean energy solutions provider with a complete supply chain, giga-scale manufacturing, proprietary technologies and a diversified product portfolio for multiple markets, and is the only company of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Conclusion: On its way to becoming a globally integrated manufacturer of battery anode materials, Ecograf is developing local partnerships in key production centres in Europe, Asia and North America. The partners’ motive is to reduce dependence on Chinese battery graphite and secure supply chains. The emerging Vietnamese EV industry adds potential cost advantages associated with local graphite sources. In addition, the targeted development of own competences along the entire value chain for batteries is likely to be one of the decisive competitive factors of the future.

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