Urbix, Inc., a US-based developer of graphite processing technology, has secured a significant strategic investment from funds managed by Appian, an investment advisor to long-term value-focused private capital funds that invest solely in mining and mining-related companies. In addition to the investment into Urbix, the parties have executed a JDA to advance a commercial scale graphite processing facility utilizing Urbix’s advanced processing capabilities towards a construction decision. The Company’s proprietary technology utilizes a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach for the production of CSPG, a necessary anode material for lithium-ion batteries. Urbix’s low-cost method avoids the use of hydrofluoric acid and results in yields that surpass industry standards.
As part of the JDA, Urbix expects to complete its commercial scale demonstration module, produce the sample volumes required for late-stage product validation and expand its customer engagement. Development activities also include the delivery of a Feasibility Study and provision of project finance ahead of a positive Final Investment Decision (“FID”) to construct the Facility. Upon a positive FID, Appian and Urbix intend to establish a Joint Venture (the “JV”) for construction and operation of the Facility. The Facility will serve as a template for additional future production facilities strategically located in the United States and abroad.
In addition, Urbix intends to make the Facility eligible for US investment and production tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act’s intent to energize a more secure supply for EV manufacturing is punctuated by China’s recent announcement to further restrict the export of graphite. Our partnership with Appian is especially timely as Urbix races to expand a critical domestic supply chain and head off any potential shortage of this key mineral as global demand surges.
In connection with the investment, Appian will obtain two of seven board seats at Urbix. The Urbix Board of Directors will comprise seven directors, including current Board members Chairman Nico Cuevas and Luis Ramos, along with Adam Fisher and Paulo Castellari-Porchia as nominees of Appian, and three independent directors. A Steering Committee will be established to oversee the development activities and will be made up of four members, two of which will be Urbix nominees and two of which will be Appian nominees. The Steering Committee will convene and consult a diverse team of distinguished professionals allowing Urbix to focus on innovation and process optimization while Appian contributes its deep technical and construction expertise for industrial projects.
Nico Cuevas, Founder and CEO of Urbix, commented:
“Appian’s significant investment and world class technical capabilities supercharge the momentum we have to become the go-to supplier of graphite anode materials for the EV industry. By establishing a strategic collaboration with Appian, we continue progressing the deployment of a US developed graphite processing technology towards commercial scale, that we expect to supplant Chinese supply of battery grade graphite. Combining Urbix’s innovation with Appian’s construction and operational expertise in the mining industry will accelerate Urbix’s ability to provide CSPG to gigafactories as domestic battery manufacturing rapidly expands. I am immensely proud of the environmentally conscious processing technology the Urbix team has developed and I look forward to seizing opportunities for expansion as we execute the JDA with Appian.”
Eduardo Gonzalez, CFO of Urbix, added:
“This transaction will play an important part in accelerating a defined commercialization strategy to de-risk, demonstrate and deploy the most advanced graphite processing facilities in the world. Urbix has developed a unique proprietary process and the recent announcement that China will curb graphite exports further enhances Urbix’s value proposition, providing battery makers with a domestic supply chain of reliable and sustainable battery grade graphite.”
The Appian investment in and JDA with Urbix follows extensive engagement with Appian and is another example of Urbix’s ability to engage external partners and advance its commercialization goals by securing the necessary resources and technical expertise. This transaction is expected to:
Position Urbix to establish a fully integrated graphite anode material supply chain in the Americas to provide North American battery gigafactories with security of supply
- Establish Urbix as the leader in the rapidly growing domestic market for graphite anode material to be used in a variety of applications including EVs, military systems and other industrial electrification applications
- Result in the construction of the Facility through the JV, which will utilize Urbix’s proprietary production process that is more cost effective, efficient and environmentally friendly than existing alternatives. The Facility is intended to be the first of many commercial deployments
- Progress Urbix’ research and development efforts towards the development of innovative battery systems and advanced processing technologies for graphite and other critical minerals
SOURCE: Appian Capital