Syrah closes on property

Published 12:28 am Friday, August 17, 2018

VIDALIA — With paperwork signed Wednesday and keys in hand to their new facility, leaders with graphite producer Syrah Resources say equipment should begin arriving later this month.

“We’ve got the keys and now it’s a matter of getting the equipment in and getting it installed,” said Paul Jahn, Syrah Resources’ chief operations officer-battery anode materials. “We have had equipment that we had ordered and received that has been in storage in a warehouse in Reserve, Louisiana.

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“Now that we have the building, we can move that to Vidalia and begin installation,” Jahn said.

Syrah closed the acquisition of the former Louisiana Elastomer LLC facility on D.A. Biglane in Vidalia from the former company’s financial creditor on Wednesday.

Syrah plans to repurpose the facility to mill flake graphite into spherical graphite for use in batteries for electric vehicles.

The battery anode material plant would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

“The completion of the BAM site purchase is a significant milestone for the company,” said Syrah CEO and Managing Director Shaun Verner. “We look forward to creating a sustainable long-term operation in Louisiana, producing a source of geographic product diversification, collaborating with the Vidalia and Natchez communities.” 

Syrah is an Australian industrial minerals and technology company which operates a flake graphite mine in Mozambique.

Jahn said the company is already advertising to fill some positions, all of which are listed on the state of Louisiana’s jobs site.

Jahn said the company plans to be in a position to make initial quantities of its material at the location before the end of this year to allow end users to test and certify it before full scale production begins.

“As that material is approved, we would go to making material for those clients on a routine basis,” Jahn said.