Heilongjiang province is enlisting graphite as the new
pillar industry of the local economy and pushing for the sector
to develop swiftly, local authorities said in late
The announcement came during a meeting for the provincial
graphite industry in Harbin on 22 February.
Heilongjiang vice-governor Haitao Li emphasised a number of
end applications that will be developed as focuses for
industrial graphite, including energy, agriculture, winter
protection clothes and heat supply.
He also highlighted eight separate graphite industrial
production processes, such as energy storing and sealing
material, graphene material, conductive and refractory
material, anti-corrosion and anti-radiation material, and
purification and sieving material, among others.
Of the Heilongjiang Provincial Bureau of Land and
Resource’s exploration plan for 2016, nine out
of 17 graphite projects have made progress, adding over 500m
tonnes graphite resources. Eleven exploration rights were
sold via auctions.
In 2017, the bureau plans to continue looking for mines with
the help of local funding, and aims to sell other exploration
rights through auctions to draw investments. Further processing
capabilities will be the most important condition that will be
considered for graphite resource allocation.
A unified project of both graphite mining and further
processing will be auctioned, and preference will be given to
companies looking into new energy vehicles and new
However, the topic of potential oversupply of further
processing products was not mentioned by the authorities
gathered in Harbin.
Although for the moment the EV industry is booming, capacity
expansion of source materials such as anode material for
batteries may lead to overcapacity issues, which has happened
in other industries already, one graphite miner told
Heilongjiang Province has two graphite mining areas and is
one of the three main producing provinces in China. At the same
time, provincial GDP growth has ranked among the lowest in
China for the past three years and the 2016 GDP target was not
met. The provincial government is pinning its hopes on graphite
to kick-start an economic revival, but the result will take
years to come through.
Heilongjiang a key exporter in January
Graphite flake exports from China surged by 69%
month-on-month (m-o-m) in January 2017 to 15,542 tonnes.
The provinces of Shandong and Heilongjiang accounted for 95%
of the volumes exported from China in the first month of
Quantities exported out of Shandong surged 36% m-o-m while
volumes out of Heilongjiang jumped a massive 118%
Average January export values were at $678.12 for graphite
from Shandong (down 15.12% m-o-m) and $479.68/tonne for
graphite from Heilongjiang (down 7.62%), according to the
The value of graphite from Shandong product is usually higher
than graphite out of Helongjiang given Shandong has been
producing graphite for longer - as far back as the 1940s -
and the province’s ability to process material
further than producers in Heilongjiang.