Leadership change at graphite company

Chad Potter taking lead spot at Westwater Resources, which plans a graphite processing plant in Coosa County.

Westwater Resources, the Colorado firm that is building a graphite processing plant in Coosa County with plans for a graphite mine, has announced a key leadership change.

Christopher M. Jones, who has shepherded the Kellyton plant through initial dealings with local and state government, has announced his retirement as of Feb. 25. Chief Operating Office Chad Potter will be the president and CEO and will fill Jones’ seat on the corporate board of directors.

Potter, who joined Westwater last year, has been involved in all aspects of plans for the Coosa County plant, said Westwater Board Chairman Terence Cryan. Potter, who is based in Alabama, has been responsible for construction of the processing plant, which should be complete in early 2023.

“He will continue to be based in Alabama to oversee the completion of construction activities at the Coosa Graphite Project in addition to his expanded role as CEO,” said Cryan.

Before joining Westwater, Potter was COO and vice president of operations for American Consolidated Industries in Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Before that, he worked in senior management at Nucor Steel in Decatur.

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Westwater’s Alabama Graphite Products is in the early stages of building a processing plant at Kellyton Industrial Park to produce materials needed for lithium-ion batteries. Until now, most of the U.S. supply of graphite has come from China. The Colorado firm looks to provide battery-grade graphite that are easier for U.S. industries to obtain and that are produced in a more environmentally friendly method.

Alabama Graphite expects to invest $80 million in its processing plant and hire 80 to 100 workers. Once the plant is operational, the firm plans to work toward opening a graphite mine to tap Alabama’s rich supply of graphite.

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