A sizable crowd gathered off of Newton Road on Tuesday, all coming together for the groundbreaking ceremony for Anovion Technologies. Having previously announced their plan for a Bainbridge facility last month, the Chicago-headquartered company specializes in the production of synthetic graphite, a key component in lithium-ion batteries. According to Anovion CEO Eric Stopka at the initial announcement, this facility will be the first large-scale factory of its kind in North America.
Development Authority Vice Chairman Andy Bell took to the podium first, recognizing all of the state and local officials present. After this, County Commission Chair Pete Stephens delivered the invocation.
Mayor Edward Reynolds spoke at the event as well, introducing Governor Kemp. “Throughout Governor Kemp’s first term, Georgia has consistently broken economic records, with jobs and investment coming to every corner of the state, including Bainbridge and Decatur County,” the mayor said, “which is a long way from Atlanta.” He continued to tout the mayor’s record during the introduction, including tax cuts, teacher pay raises and a crack-down on human trafficking.
When the governor took to the podium, he thanked all the other officials present first, before discussing Anovion itself. “You know for us, today represents many great victories for our state, and as I’ve said before, it’s a culmination of a lot of hard work on a lot of local communities, and certainly this one,” Kemp said. “Projects like this are the result of many months of careful and sustained talks and efforts, not only at the state level through the Department of Economic Development, but also as I mentioned, the support of the members of the general assembly, and certainly our team.” Kemp went on to praise Anovion’s business, and the company’s stated commitment to build up the American supply chain for lithium-ion batteries, with much of it currently based in Asia. He reiterated the 400 new jobs the facility will create, as well as the $800 million investment it represents. “With this project’s groundbreaking, literally now, all four corners of our state have seen major investment and significant job creation, as a result of the work of us leading the next Industrial Revolution of our time, here in Georgia.”
After Governor Kemp, Anovion Executive Chairman Chip Dunn spoke. Dunn recounted how he met Governor Kemp, and how Anovion was persuaded to come to Georgia; he stated factors such as Bainbridge’s inland port and access to waterway and land transport contributed. According to him, they are the “only commercial sale battery-grade synthetic graphite company in North America.” Dunn discussed the particulars of which components in lithium-ion batteries use synthetic graphite, and also emphasized Anovion’s commitment to being climate-focused. He particularly focused on the company’s commitment to reduce the emissions associated with producing synthetic graphite; “Importantly we’re focused on shifting the narrative of a rather environmentally unfriendly process, if we’re being honest, in China, and demonstrate what our vision is, and what it truly means to be climate tech-driven through our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.” According to Dunn, Anovion hopes to reduce its production’s carbon footprint to zero over time. “We think that we can be the first major manufacturing business in the world to be carbon-free. It’s an ambition, but we think we have a chance to make it.”
After Dunn finished, Congressman Sanford Bishop took to the podium, discussing how the state and national government were involved in the process of bringing Anovion to the state, as well as how the state in general has benefitted from federal manufacturing incentives. “We have seen federal resources flow into our great state, which combined with the resources from the governor and the general assembly, are making historic improvements in high-speed internet, that better connect our families, our schools, and our businesses,” he said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is improving our roads, our ports, our railways, bridges and airports, the arteries through which our commerce flows.”
SRTC President Jim Glass delivered the closing remarks, revealing to the audience that Anovion will be working to offer scholarships in the future, with updates to come in the future.
The ceremony concluded with the officials present finally breaking ground. The facility is projected to be operational by 2025.
Story provided by Ethan Reddish of The Post-Searchlight.