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Ontario developer finds massive cache of pure synthetic graphite at planned housing site

Graphite. (Reference image by Robert M. Lavinsky, Wikimedia Commons).

When developer King & Benton Holdings acquired the former Union Carbide synthetic graphite manufacturing facility in Welland, Ontario, the last thing management thought was that they were going to end up joining the battery metals space.

The idea was to create a new community that included a mix of residential, prestige industrial and commercial spaces in the 178-acre brownfield site. But in the process of executing the environmental due diligence on the property, the team doing the fieldwork discovered a 500,000-tonne cache of pure synthetic graphite, remnants from the site’s industrial past.

Plans changed swiftly and a new company was born, ReGen Resource Recovery.

Using King & Benton’s experience in aggregate processing, the nascent firm will focus on refining the existing stockpile of graphite with the goal of supplying the North American market.

Ontario developer finds massive cache of pure synthetic graphite at planned housing site
Established in 1907, the Union Carbide plant in Welland produced ferrosilicon for the steel industry. (Image by the Welland Historical Museum, courtesy of ReGen).

“We are planning on initial separation and stockpiling 2,000 tonnes daily from the graphite deposit. This material will be processed for end-users at the new ReGen Resource processing facility to be located in a recently acquired 250,000-square-feet facility adjacent to the graphite deposit,” Steve Charest, president and CEO of the King and Benton group of companies, told MINING.COM.

“We will have equipment that can both micronize and shape ReGen material if needed and spheroidize imported natural graphite. Initial micronizing capacity will be 35,000 tonnes annually starting in 2024.”

Charest pointed out that plans are underway to expand the plant’s capacity to 100,000 tonnes per year allowing for the additional processing of imported natural graphite. The raw material would be acquired once relationships, partnerships or acquisitions have been established with mining companies and importers who could benefit from ReGen’s processing capabilities.

Demand for the final product is expected to arise from companies requiring high-grade synthetic graphite for batteries, as well as from other industrial applications that seek an alternative to the current Chinese-dependent supply chain.