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GRAPHITE, Natural & synthetic graphite - pring/supply/demand
post Posted: Apr 5 2019, 07:47 PM
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Tirupati Graphite opens first of six plant modules in Madagascar
Indian natural graphite producer Tirupati Graphite announced the commissioning of a 3ktpy flake graphite plant in March at its Sahamamy operation in Madagascar. A second module at 18kty is planned to open in Q3 2020. Meanwhile, the company continues to develop the Vatomina flake graphite project, also in Madagascar, where it plans to open a 6ktpy plant in Q3 2019. Tirupati Graphite has long-term plans to increase its Madagascan graphite capacity to 81ktpy by Q1 2022 through a series of six new modules. The company operates mines in India as well as Madagascar.

Tirupati Graphite holds a 40-year mining permit for around 8km2 on the Sahamay project and has reported a JORC resource of around 13Mt with additional resource potential exceeding 15Mt. The project is located near to the port of Toamasina. Planned production ratios are 60% of higher-value jumbo flake, 30% large flake and 10 small flake and a graphite recovery of 85% has been achieved.

Roskill view:

Tirupati Graphite’s plant opening is the latest in a line of development announcements for graphite projects in the African region, which are ideally located to supply graphite into Asia, specifically China. China offers the largest market for graphite and strongest future growth with increases in demand for both synthetic graphite in steelmaking electrodes (as China switches rapidly to electric arc furnace methods of steel production) and natural and synthetic graphite in lithium-ion battery anodes (a market driven by the electric vehicle and energy storage boom).

The Indian producer is well-placed to take advantage of the smaller, but equally strong growing, market of expandable/expanded graphite. Used in fire retardant materials, flexible products such as gaskets, and heat management systems, this industry requires high-grade, extra-large flake graphite which Madagascar has, historically, been well known for producing.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Mar 24 2019, 11:23 AM
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China’s flake graphite export prices dip on ample supply; European market unchanged
Published: Friday, 22 March 2019

China’s flake graphite export prices dipped this week after exporters in the country cut their offer levels amid an abundance of the material in the market, while low buying interest compounded the weakness.

by Huaqing Fu, Jon Stibbs

Fastmarkets assessed the fob China price for flake graphite, 94-97%C, +80 mesh, at $930-1,180 per tonne on Thursday March 21, down by $20 per tonne from $950-1,200 per tonne a week earlier.

The export price for China-origin -100 mesh flake graphite recorded a similar fall...

British importers stockpiling graphite ahead of Brexit
Published: Tuesday, 19 March 2019

UK customers have increased orders of natural graphite on mounting uncertainty of trade agreements after the UK leaves the European Union.

British companies are understood to be stockpiling natural graphite ahead of Brexit as uncertainty mounts over trade arrangements once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

Official import data for the UK for the first three months of 2019 has not yet been published, so volume increases cannot be verified,...

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Feb 27 2019, 11:15 AM
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Not a lot of detail provided, but interesting if correct. There have been a number of similar announcements of large deposits found in recent years - "industry experts" the media and graphite companies however continue to claim China is running out of flake graphite.
Large graphite deposit found in Northeast China's Heilongjiang
Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-26 14:45
HARBIN - A large graphite deposit has been discovered in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province with a potential economic value of over 100 billion yuan (about $15 billion).

The deposit, found in the city of Shuangyashan, has a reserve of more than 335 million tonnes of graphite ores with an average purity of 6.97 percent, according to the provincial natural resources department.

The department said the minerals there were identified as high-quality flake graphite that can be mined easily and at low cost.

Graphite is widely used in modern industries, including aerospace and electronics. It is the basis for the miracle material graphene, which is viewed as a key material in China's innovation-driven development strategy.

Provincial officials hope the discovery of the large deposit can boost the graphite industry in Heilongjiang and aid the province's industrial transformation.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Feb 7 2019, 09:04 PM
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Latest short message on graphite from Placido Campos - Brazilian graphite technical specialist. He has worked with a number of graphite companies including, albeit a short period, SYR. English is not his first language but one gets the gist of what he is saying - I do anyway.

Basic conditions for producing graphite:

-a reserve with excellent behavior in the process.

-a quality of products that convince the best customers in the market always want their delivery.

- Most importantly: Have a technical team of high knowledge in graphite, working together, stable and happy. For this the key word is training of the chosen people.

A lot of companies divulge texts about their productions and magnitudes but it changes of technical body as if it changes of clothes. People that dismiss technicians of very easy way or is because it did not know to hire and to train or is because it does not have specific competence.

Do you want to invest in Graphite companies? See how they change their staff!

An earlier article published on September 18, 2017 from him is this one - How important is detailed planning in a graphite mine?

I have always been asked to do review of graphite projects from various parts of the world. We currently have several mineral provinces in focus around the world: Canada, India, China, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Russia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and a few others.

Marketing to raise money on graphite projects has been focused on carbon content and particle size distribution (flakes). These characteristics have a lot of importance, but the economic feasibility study is easy to contemplate. So what else needs to be considered?

I intend here to highlight only a few situations I have experienced, which demonstrate the complexity of producing good quality graphite and thus satisfy the various market segments.

In the refractory segment, the chemical composition of the impurities is a preponderant factor, some companies control what we call SC (Surface coefficient) and this characteristic is associated with the crystallinity intrinsic to reserve genesis.

As for large flakes, the expansion rate is a striking and complex factor. The difference of sources can define good and bad qualities.

In the fine size segment, sulphur, vanadium, molybdenum and other elements may make a reserve in the alkaline battery segment unfeasible, even at the ppm level. I still do not have clear information on the influence on lithium-ion batteries but we've heard of some mobile phone blasts.

The process control needs indirect parameters that lead to an ability to produce with high quality and good use of the mineral reserve: preserve flakes and high fine carbon content, recovery and control of chemical elements in products.

All of this is just a conversation starts and knowing how to optimize and get to know the true potential of a mine is fundamental to know if a project really has a good response to its acceptance in the market. The true result of a project will appear maybe after 5 years and not on the plant start up. The market gives the answers when their products and tests provide the same. Good mine control is key to ensuring the success of the projects and I have hardly seen companies that are concerned in this way. They treat a graphite mine as if it were an iron mine.ácido-campos?

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington

Said 'Thanks' for this post: gumboots  
post Posted: Jan 2 2019, 08:08 PM
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In Reply To: blacksheep's post @ Jan 2 2019, 07:51 PM

Graphite Outlook 2019: Will Supply Increase?
Priscila Barrera - December 30th, 2018

Graphite is an essential metal used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and as sales of EVs grow, market watchers believe demand for the metal will surge.

Despite discussions surrounding changes in battery chemistry, many experts think graphite will remain a key element in EV batteries for at least the next decade. Both synthetic graphite and natural graphite, in the form of the intermediate product spherical graphite, are used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.

With the start of 2019 just around the corner, many investors are wondering what will happen to graphite next year. Here the Investing News Network looks at the key trends in the graphite market in 2018, and what the graphite outlook is for 2019.

Graphite trends 2018: The year in review
In 2018, demand for graphite continued to grow strongly, underpinned by the boom in EVs, especially in the Chinese market, according to Suzanne Shaw, senior analyst at Roskill.

“The natural graphite market is rushing to meet this demand and supply is increasing from Africa, led by the ramp up of production at Syrah Resources’ (ASX:SYR) Balama mine in Mozambique, which started producing in late 2017, and China, where existing producers are increasing production. But the industry is still in a state of overcapacity,” Shaw said.

As in many other industries, a main theme for graphite has been temporary capacity shutdowns in China, the result of successive rounds of environmental inspections. These are ongoing, with the latest major round of closures happening in August 2017, Shaw said.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Analyst Albert Li explained that even though China has resources, more are needed outside of the country.

“Environmental policies are still having an impact on prices and supply,” he said.

According to the London-based firm, China has more dominance over the anode supply chain than any other area of the lithium-ion battery industry. That is creating mounting concerns over the shape of global supply.

“For the first time in a generation we have begun to see China import significant quantities of natural graphite feedstock,” as per Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Looking over to supply, over the past 12 months the market has seen a ramp up in production at four important new flake graphite mines: Syrah Resources and AMG in Mozambique, Bass Metals (ASX:BSM) in Madagascar and Imerys Graphite and Carbon in Namibia.

Roskill’s Shaw said that in terms of prices, along with a more rapid recovery than expected in Chinese supply, prices were weaker than anticipated in the second half of the year, and the firm has now revised its price forecasts to be weaker into 2019.

“Prices for Chinese battery-grade flake graphite increased strongly in late 2017 and early 2018 as a result, but they saw some downward readjustment in the second half of the year, despite some more closures in May 2018, as supply in Africa began to ramp up, bringing some security to the market,” Shaw said.

Looking over to the synthetic graphite space, the market has seen “rapidly increasing demand from the electrodes sector as China shifts its steel production to electric arc furnace methods (and as demand grows from batteries),” according to Roskill’s Shaw.

“There was a huge electrode shortage and a nine-fold increase in electrode prices through 2017. While there has been some downward movement, prices in 2018 remain very high,” Shaw added.

Graphite outlook 2019: All eyes on supply
Looking ahead to next year, Shaw said demand from batteries will not let up and will continue to drive both natural and synthetic graphite.

“Supply/demand will be more than adequate in 2019, but it depends on how much Syrah (and maybe others) put into the market,” she said.

For Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the demand outlook for the graphite market is also positive, given growing consumption from industrial markets and the emergence of value-added applications.

As demand for electric cars continues to increase, the London-based firm forecasts that total graphite demand could reach 1.2 million tonnes by 2025, although there are some substitution risks that could impact this forecast as silicon, solid state and manufacturing advance.

“Graphite will be the core raw material for lithium-ion battery anodes for at least the next five years, but new technologies will begin to gain traction,” Benchmark said.

To meet this growing the demand, the firm believes new natural and synthetic graphite capacity is required.

Meanwhile, Roskill forecasts prices will continue falling in 2019 as supply in both China and the rest of world increases further, “but will rise again in later years as forecasts for battery growth are so rapid, growing demand will soon bring the market into tightness,” Shaw said.

As the new year begins, investors should keep an eye on China, which is always the wild card.

“Unpredictable areas of the industry will always concern China, especially with the environmental overhauls currently underway. The timing and intensity of plant closures is hard to predict as China continues to strengthen its pollution targets,” Shaw said.

She added that into the new year, the focus is on new supply.

“How much more supply will Syrah bring on? It does not appear to have renewed its major deal with BTR in China — the world’s largest anode material producer — but it has penned three alternative supply deals with other Chinese companies since November,” Shaw said.

Other catalysts to keep in mind are whether other companies will come online or not and if new Chinese production could also come into the equation.

“There are a large number of flake deposits under development, many of which have seen a definitive feasibility study and/or have pilot plants in place — it’s now a race to achieve financing,” Shaw said.

Speaking about new Chinese supply, the expert said the Asian country is looking increasingly at foreign (mainly African) resources and imported major amounts of raw material graphite for the first time in 2018.

Another factor to watch out for is any new Chinese investment and offtake agreements.

“[It] would be interesting to see how committed China is to building a foreign supply chain over its existing domestic industry,” Shaw said.

On the synthetic side, “look at how China is encouraging the shift to electric arc furnace (EAF), new taxes on basic oxygen furnaces being introduced and possible help for increased EAF capacity,” Shaw added.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Jan 2 2019, 07:51 PM
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Graphite Forecast 2019: Execs Optimistic, Say Investors Must Do Research
Priscila Barrera - December 31st, 2018
CEOs and company executives share their thoughts on graphite market trends in 2018 and the graphite forecast for 2019.

In 2018, demand for graphite continued to grow strongly, underpinned in part by the electric vehicle (EV) boom. Graphite is an essential element in the lithium-ion batteries used to power EVs.

But what will happen to graphite next year? To find out, the Investing News Network reached out to a number of companies in the space to get their thoughts on what’s ahead for graphite in 2019.

Shaun Verner, president and CEO of Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR); Peter Wright, executive director at Bass Metals (ASX:BSM); Stephen Riddle, president and CEO of Asbury Carbons; Ugo Landry-Tolszczuk, president and COO of SRG Graphite (TSX:SRG); Blair Way, president and CEO of Leading Edge Materials (TSXV:LEM); Brent Nykoliation, senior vice president of corporate development at NextSource Materials (TSX:NEXT); and Mike Rosenstreich, managing director at Hexagon Resources (ASX:HXG), were all able to provide insight. Read on to learn their thoughts on the graphite forecast moving ahead.
Graphite trends 2018: The year in review
In 2018, SRG’s Landry-Tolszczuk expected a continued run in energy metals in terms of both pricing and equities based on strong fundamentals.

“Fundamentals remain strong, but starting in June energy metals (cobalt, nickel, graphite, lithium and to a lesser extent, copper) started falling (although prices in graphite haven’t fallen at all in 2018, they have risen) and equities took a huge hit,” he said.

Similarly, Leading Edge’s Way expected an increase in attention for battery materials — which the market saw, but Way said that the demand for products in the western world is lagging behind expectations created by the increased attention.

“This has made investors cautious, which has impacted share prices over the year,” he said.

Speaking about how the graphite market has performed this year, Syrah’s Verner said there’s been a lot of interest for his company’s product. Syrah started production at its Balama project in November 2017.

“We are getting a feel about the overall graphite market, but it is early days. [What we see] right now is a very strong interest in our product worldwide,” he said.

Verner also talked about the differentiation seen in the last couple of years between those who have a historical view of the industrial components of the market, which are primarily steel driven, and those who are very positive about demand from the battery sector.

“This year is the first year where we have seen those views integrate, and the market getting its head around what batteries could mean for supply and demand in the future,” he said, adding that Syrah’s Balama production was another major factor impacting the market in 2018.

According to NextSource’s Nykoliation, in 2018 prices were expected to move up marginally for the larger-flake material (+80/95) for refractory purposes and for -100 mesh material, which is predominately used as the precursor material for anode applications.

“Both ended up happening, which reflects that the market for refractory shows small gains every year, but more importantly that the battery market, while expected to be a high-growth market, is still a small market relative to the traditional uses,” he added.

Speaking about the most challenging aspect of the market this year, Nykoliation said graphite continues to be recognized as a critical battery material, but is consistently overshadowed by the metals used in cathodes — lithium and cobalt.

Additionally, he said the graphite end markets/industry is opaque and complex, and therefore not easily understood by investors. “The biggest challenge continues to be education and re-education of the graphite space to investors. It is very difficult for investors to understand what makes one project better than another and why,” he noted.

Bass Metals’ Wright also talked about some of the misunderstandings in the graphite sector, and what mistakes investors should try to avoid if they are looking to jump into the space.

“First of all is the difference in pricing across the different concentrates,” he said, adding that the second-most-challenging aspect of the space is financing.

SRG’s Landry-Tolszczuk said graphite equities sentiment is directly tied to other energy metals.

“Supply is tight and is expected to remain tight, especially in the larger flake, which is the reason pricing remains high. Equities are low and it is hard to finance construction projects when sentiment and equities are low,” he explained.

Leading Edge’s Way said the most challenging aspect of the market has been the disconnect between demand and supply.

“Demand for battery materials is currently very small and only in Asia,” said Way, adding that investors get excited by the hype, but do not understand the time it is taking for a market for battery materials outside of Asia to develop. “Cell manufacturers in Europe and North America are very slow to establish cell-manufacturing facilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hexagon’s Rosenstreich believes the most challenging aspect of the market right now is being able to market a reasonable amount of material.

“We are looking to market 50,000 tonnes of concentrate flake,” Rosenstreich explained, which Hexagon expects to convert into a dozen of different products.

As the year comes to an end, many market watchers are wondering what’s ahead for graphite.

In 2019, NextSource’s Nykoliation predicts a better market in general.

“It is almost monthly that we are seeing the major car manufacturers updating the market on their research and development efforts and growth plans for electric vehicle models. These efforts will put continued incremental pressure on the -100 material pricing,” he said.

Additionally, there is a growing trend for manufacturers to source their graphite and value-added anode material from non-Chinese sources, as China continues to grapple with environmental issues.

“Jumbo/extra-large flake (+50/95-97 percent mesh) graphite required for expanded graphite applications (graphite foils) is an increasing market and is commanding the highest prices. Expect to see continued price strength for those applications,” Nykoliation added.

For his part, SRG’s Landry-Tolszczuk highlighted that graphite supply remains tight and prices in graphite have been trending upwards in 2018.

“[This] is expected to continue in 2019,” he said, adding that the market seems uncorrelated to fundamentals right now, so it is hard to predict what will happen to equities in 2019.

Next year, Leading Edge’s Way said the market will see accelerated growth in forecast demand for battery materials — the space will see more indicators of electrification of transportation in all regions.

“It will be good for graphite and battery materials, but it will be tough to manage expectations as the true demand will lag the forecasts and it will be a few more years before we see true battery material demand,” he added.

Speaking about the short-term graphite market, Asbury Carbons’ Riddle said he expects growth in the market, although for prices he expects natural flake graphite will be lower or remain flat next year.

For investors interested in the graphite space, Riddle gave his best suggestion for the new year.

“[As an investor] in the natural flake graphite market, it’s about finding the right junior miner that fits the criteria of being low cost, that has a good business plan and that is realistic in the market,” he said.

Similarly, NextSource’s Nykoliation said investors should do their homework.

“Focus on companies that have technical/feasibility studies completed on their projects that show project economics,” he added.

SRG’s Landry-Tolszczuk suggested investors should pick projects that have a competitive advantage and have a path to production.

“Unlike other resource plays, graphite resources don’t get bought out by majors, they have to go to production. If CAPEX is too large or regulatory processes are too long, projects won’t get done and no value will be driven. Pick projects/management teams which you believe will get built in the next few years with a plan to get there,” he added.

For Way, right now there are some buying opportunities. “Share prices are way down and the fundamentals of these strong battery material companies remain unchanged. It is a good time to average down if you are a believer in the update of electrification of transport,” he added.

For Hexagon’s Rosenstreich, those new to the sector should remember that the graphite market is not a mining play — it is not about mining metrics or resources or even grades, but marketing.

“The resources are relevant, but the biggest valuation driver is the company’s ability to penetrate specific markets and have a sound marketing strategy,” he added.

Graphite outlook 2019: What’s ahead for companies
Looking ahead, Verner shared his thoughts on Syrah, which is developing the world’s largest natural graphite project, and what’s next in terms of supply — something market watchers are eyeing.

The CEO stressed that production at the Balama project in Mozambique will be driven by market demand going forward.

“Next year we expect to produce between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes and we will move to full capacity depending on demand,” he added.

In August 2018, Bass Metals’ flagship project, the Graphmada large-flake graphite mine, achieved nameplate production, just a couple of months after the mine was commissioned — one of the most important pieces of news for the company this year, Wright said.

Bass Metals’ major corporate objective over the next 12 months is the delivery of a stage 2 upgrade and expansion at its Graphmada large-flake graphite mine by early 2020, which will increase production volumes to 20,000 tonnes per year.

Meanwhile, 2019 is also set to be a busy year for NextSource, which is developing its 100-percent-owned Molo graphite project in Southern Madagascar.

“We are a very advanced project and are just waiting for the mining permit, which we expect by March. Once we have those, we will have immediate news flow regarding mine funding and additional offtake agreements,” Nykoliation said.

Similarly, SRG Graphite, which is focused on developing the Lola graphite deposit in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, will have plenty of news flow in 2019.

“[We have a] feasibility study coming out in Q2 2019. A lab was built on site and we have employees making graphite from our site as we speak. [There will be] offtake agreements to follow early in the new year,” Landry-Tolszczuk added.

Leading Edge Materials will continue to focus on its flagship asset, the Woxna graphite production facility located in Central Sweden.

“We are growing our portfolio of battery materials in Europe as well as advancing our graphite mine by adding equipment to enable production of battery anode materials,” Way said.

Meanwhile, Hexagon Resources, which is looking to become a vertically integrated graphite business, is focused on developing its McIntosh project in Western Australia to supply high-specification graphite materials to both traditional and emerging markets.

Speaking about what’s ahead for his company, Rosenstreich talked about its joint venture with Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), the company’s technical test work and how Hexagon will continue to focus on its downstream business.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington

post Posted: Dec 7 2018, 09:17 PM
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Graphite Mining in the US Key to National Security Interests
Graphite mining in the US is becoming a critical industry for the nation’s security and economic interests.

Late last year, President Trump issued an executive order for the development of a federal critical minerals strategy to reduce the risk posed by foreign dependence on 35 minerals. Graphite mining in the US is an area of vast potential as graphite is one of four critical minerals currently not produced within the country.

US access to global oil production has significantly influenced its national security and foreign policy for roughly one-hundred years. Recently, some have speculated that this influence could wane with use of technologies like hydrohalic fracturing (aka “fracking”) that gave way to a wave of unconventional oil and natural gas production in the US. In the mix was, and still is, an abundance of discounted heavy oil from Canada.

It has become more apparent that foreign dependency of other material inputs could pose a similar level of risk to the US economy and defense sector and, like oil, is becoming a key influencer of US national security and foreign policy. Likewise, the US government is now turning its attention to materials like rare earth minerals, vanadium, gallium, and natural graphite.

Natural graphite is currently not extracted in the US, so firms are entirely dependent on foreign sources. Secondly, graphite is one of the materials essential to certain components in electronics, clean energy and battery technologies, as well as US defense equipment and systems. Thirdly, China, now considered a major geopolitical competitor to the US, is a significant supplier to the US market. With trends such as these across numerous critical materials, it shouldn’t be surprising that the US government is seeking to reduce the risk associated with 35 minerals deemed critical to the US economy and defense sector.

Graphite: Critical for clean energy and defense technologies
In 2017, global natural graphite production was largely dominated by China with 780 million tonnes, or 67 percent. Between 2013-2016 alone, China supplied 35 percent of US natural graphite consumption. In 2017, nearly 50,000 tonnes of graphite was used for steel, break lines, lubricants, refractory applications, and powdered metals in the US. However, although the US imports all of its natural graphite supply, it does manufacture synthetic graphite which is produced from refinery petroleum coke.

Because graphite, a form of pure carbon, is used for a variety of end markets, the requirements of those end markets vary. Graphite grade, purity, shape and flake size are key qualities to consider. CEO of Asbury Carbons Stephan Riddle, in an interview with INN, stated that graphite should be thought of as an “umbrella term” for “different types of graphite, both synthetic and natural used in specific applications that do not compete.” While graphite still serves traditional applications like steel making, use of graphite in clean technologies — particularly lithium-ion battery storage and in the defense industry — are expected to be a significant future driver of production. This is because graphite has a broad swath of highly desirable characteristics: it is highly resistant to heat and corrosion, lightweight, very strong and electrically and thermally conductive.

Currently, natural and primary synthetic graphite are both used as anode materials in lithium-ion batteries. The amount of graphite in a lithium-ion battery can be up to 15 times that of lithium. Tesla’s Roadster, for example, uses 110 kilograms of graphite per vehicle. Despite efforts to substitute out graphite from EV battery anodes, Roskill anticipates that natural flake and synthetic graphite consumption for battery applications could increase five to ten fold by 2027.

There are two risks to graphite in the EV battery realm that should be taken into consideration. Firstly, material substitution in lithium-ion battery anodes. Secondly, arrival of technologies like the solid-state battery that are expected to compete with lithium-ion batteries. However, expected EV uptake in the coming decades and mass commercialization of solid-state batteries well into the next decade are positive for lithium-ion battery growth and graphite anodes that comprise them. Performance and cost factors are expected to keep lithium-ion batteries competitive for many years.

At the same time, graphite prospects and risk in the US defense sector should not be ignored. The US Government has a staggering volume of military equipment, with roughly 440,000 vehicles, 780 strategic missiles, 278 combat ships and 14,000 aircraft. In 2015, US Department of Defense expenditures were in excess of US$587 billion, making it a very well-funded industry. Suffice it to say, graphite has an array of applications in the defense sector: jet engine components, body armor and electronic systems to name few. A key market risk for the US defense sector is a material reliance on a geopolitical competitor that can create a shortage of natural graphite on a whim that would directly impede manufacturing of critical defense systems and equipment in the US.

How is graphite mining in the US being developed?
Trump’s executive order comprises four policy priorities: identifying new sources of critical minerals, increasing activity at all levels of the supply chain, providing US miners with the most advanced data permitted by US law and streamlining leasing and permitting processes to expedite development. Two key actions to implement this policy are well underway.

The Trump administration, even before the release of the executive order late last year, had already implemented a policy to open up 600 million acres of public lands to resource extraction, in particular oil and natural gas. In many ways, the need to increase domestic production of critical minerals is a continuation of that policy. As a recent example, 1.3 million acres of Federal lands in California’s desert were opened up to mining activities.

Chinese natural graphite imports to the US now face a 10 percent import tariff as part of Trump’s $250 billion dollar retaliation against Chinese trade practices, which shows no signs of abating. The move could help bolster domestic US production by shielding it from Chinese attempts to extinguish competing production via its influence in setting global prices. However, the broader impacts to the global economy from trade protectionism could also impact project economics of domestic graphite production.

The players in US graphite
Graphite One Resources (TSXV:GPH,OTCQX:GPHOF) owns one of the largest high-quality graphite deposit in the US. The 9,583- hectare Graphite Creek deposit is strategically located in mining-friendly Alaska with direct ocean access to the high-tech American hub and Asian markets. Three exploration programs at the project have generated an indicated resource of 744,000 tonnes of contained graphite, and just under 5 million tonnes inferred. Spheroidal, thin (flake), aggregated and expanded (STAX) graphite have been found. STAX graphite can be used in several applications in both the lithium-ion batteries and industrial sectors. The 2017 preliminary economic analysis showcases an integrated project producing about 50,000 tonnes per year of high-value manufactured graphite products over a 40-year mine life.

Earlier this year, Westwater Resources (NASDAQ:WWR) acquired Alabama Graphite Corp. and its Coosa Graphite mine. The project is a historical past-producer of US domestic graphite production, which is centered along the Alabama graphite belt. The project is expected to start in 2026, with a processing plant that could bring purity levels to 99.95 percent.

Graphite’s critical metal status coupled with low domestic supply creates an investment opportunity in the discovery, exploration and development of US graphite deposits. Though there is tangible economic risk from large economic trade disputes, US policy is setting a course for domestic graphite production that is
anticipated to ensure domestic supply of critical materials for new energy technologies and the US defense sector. Efforts today to incentivize new domestic production could very well pay off well into the next decade.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Nov 3 2018, 01:46 PM
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In Reply To: blacksheep's post @ Oct 24 2018, 11:55 AM

At this year’s Benchmark Minerals Week’s Cathodes conference in Newport Beach, the Investing News Network sat down with David Anonychuk, managing director of M.Plan International.

After giving a brief overview of his main takeaways from the Graphite+Anodes event, including thoughts on graphite demand and new anodes technologies, Anonychuk shared his insight on the cobalt sector.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Nov 3 2018, 12:28 PM
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In Reply To: blacksheep's post @ Oct 2 2018, 12:27 PM

Imerys closes unprofitable graphite mine in Namibia
Published: Friday, 02 November 2018

The Namibian natural flake graphite plant ran into problems during the ramp-up phase and, with prices softening, Imerys has decided to cease operations.

Imerys has closed its Namibian graphite mine because of low prices and after failing to ramp it up as planned, it said in its latest quarterly results

The French company has placed the plant, which had been forecast to produce 20,000 tonnes per year of flake graphite, under care and maintenance

extract from Imerys results at September 30, 2018 PR

Implementation of “care and maintenance” program for Namibian natural graphite assets
Imerys has decided to implement a care and maintenance program for its Namibian graphite assets to preserve
their long-term value for a future point when market pricing allows a proper value to be achieved for this
high-quality graphite product[/
b]. The implementation of a proper care and maintenance program enables Imerys to
preserve its mining rights and resume production once general market conditions become more favourable.
These assets have a balance sheet value of ca. €50 million.

Imerys Third Quarter and 9 Months 2018 Results Presentation
More challenging conditions in some markets, weighing on volumes
â—† Uncertainty in automotive sector
â—† [b]Slow down of Graphite for lithium-ion batteries in China

Just in Marc h this year Imerys made this PR
Otjiwarongo, Namibia, March 2018
The company has been investing and actively developing Natural Graphite operations in Otjiwarongo
since 2016, which form a core part of Imerys Graphite & Carbon’s growth strategy.
On March 1, 2018, Imerys Graphite & Carbon (IG&C), member of the Imerys Group, introduces Martin
Tjipita, the new Mine Manager for the company’s operations in Otjiwarongo, one of the latest investments of
the company for the production of natural graphite, which has different applications, including lithium-ion
batteries for electric vehicles.


Brian Kendall, Global Director Industrial Management and Operations of Imerys Graphite & Carbon, says: “In
2016 we started our operations in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, opening the Natural Graphite Mine and retrofitting
the processing plant. In 2017, according to plan, we started Natural Graphite production, and this year, with
Martin’s contribution, we will proceed with the development of our operations in Namibia, to confirm our
position as a well-established player in this industry.”

Shows how fickle the graphite market is

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington
post Posted: Oct 30 2018, 11:53 AM
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Top 10 graphite mining/producing countries - 2017 - courtesy of Investing News -
1. China
Mine production: 780,000 MT

As mentioned, China was the world’s largest graphite producer in 2017. It put out 780,000 MT of the metal, the same amount it produced the previous two years. According to the US Geological Survey, the country accounted for 65 percent of world graphite mining last year, and 35 percent of consumption.

Despite China’s stranglehold on the graphite market, investors shouldn’t necessarily expect the Asian nation’s dominance to continue forever. That’s because in recent years the graphite-mining country has made an effort to streamline production. Part of that process has been taking polluting producers offline, and there have also been plant closures in Shandong, China due to environmental targets. These may further impact Chinese graphite production for 2018.

2. India
Mine production: 150,000 MT

India produced much less graphite than China in 2017, but is still the world’s second-largest producer of the metal. Its total output last year came to 170,000 MT, nearly the same amount it put out in 2016.

The country’s graphite reserves vary widely from state to state — as this Industrial Minerals article shows, Arunachal Pradesh holds 43 percent of India’s graphite reserves. The graphite-mining country has eight main producers, including Tirupati Carbon & Graphite, Chotanagpur Graphite Industries and Carbon & Graphite Products. HEG (NSE:HEG) is a small graphite electrode producer in India that’s made headlines for record profit in 2018, although Managing Director Ravi Jhunjhunwala has called the earnings “highly unusual.”

3. Brazil
Mine production: 95,000 MT

Brazil was once again the world’s third-largest graphite producer in 2017. With 95,000 MT of output last year, it came in significantly behind India as well as China. As with those two countries, Brazil’s 2017 graphite-mining output was flat from 2016.

Little information is available about the Brazilian graphite-mining industry, as the country’s top producers of the metal are private. However, does state that the country’s two largest graphite producers are Extrativa Metalquimica and Nacional de Grafite.

4. Canada
Mine production: 30,000 MT

Canada’s graphite production remained the same year-on-year, sitting at 30,000 MT. Interest in Canada as a potential source of graphite has been rising for the past few years, particularly since Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) said it plans to source the lithium, graphite and cobalt it needs for its Nevada-based lithium-ion battery gigafactory from North America.

Many graphite-focused companies are now working in Canada, with a few being Berkwood Resources (TSXV:BKR), Canada Carbon (TSXV:CCB), Canada Strategic Metals (TSXV:CJC), Eagle Graphite (TSXV:EGA), Focus Graphite (TSXV:FMS), Lomiko Metals (TSXV:LMR), Noram Ventures (TSXV:NRM), Northern Graphite (TSXV:NGC) and Zenyatta Ventures (TSXV:ZEN).

5. Mozambique
Mine production: 23,000 MT

Mozambique made a huge leap in 2017, going from no graphite mining on record in 2016 to 23,000 MT last year, according to the US Geological Survey. The country is home to two main graphite players: Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Triton Minerals (ASX:TON). Syrah began producing in 2017, while Triton is aiming to start production in H1 2020.

6. Russia
Mine production: 19,000 MT

In 2017, Russia’s graphite output clocked in at 19,000 MT, just as it did in 2016. Despite this plateau, the country expects to significantly increase its production during the next several years due to the implementation of two investment projects, Dalgrafit and Uralgraphite. As with many of the countries on this list, little further information is available on graphite mining in Russia.

7. Ukraine
Mine production: 15,000 MT

The Ukraine produced the same amount of graphite in 2017 as it did the previous year, 15,000 MT. Zavalyevskiy Graphite is a large producer in the Ukraine. According to its website, it’s been in operation since the 1930s, producing up to 30,000 tons of natural flake graphite per year.

8. Pakistan
Mine production: 14,000 MT

Pakistan comes in at eighth place for graphite production. The country produced 14,000 MT of graphite in 2017. That is the same quantity as the previous year. Despite the country’s production numbers, information on graphite mining in Pakistan is scarce.

9. Norway
Mine production: 8,000 MT

Norway’s graphite-mining output was flat from 2015 to 2017 at 8,000 MT. All graphite deposits in the country contain flake graphite, and are generally low tonnage. That said, many are in favorable locations — for example, close to the sea or to the electrical grid.

10. Madagascar
Mine production: 7,000 MT

In 2017, Madagascar produced 7,000 MT of graphite, down 1,000 MT from 2016. A few companies exploring for graphite in the country are Bass Metals (ASX:BSM), BlackEarth Minerals (ASX:BEM) and NextSource Materials (TSX:NEXT). Click here to learn more about those and other graphite-mining companies in Africa.

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. Edgar Fiedler

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington

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