New graphite reserves found in Xinjiang

By Albert Li
Published: Thursday, 23 November 2017

Authorities have announced the discovery of a large graphite reserve in Inner Mongolia, which could give an important economic boost to the area, although its logistics mean the deposit will be hard to exploit.

A new graphite deposit has been found in Xinjiang, the China Ministry of Land and Resources announced on November 14 when the China Geological Survey held the Huangyangshan Graphite Mine appreciation meeting in Qitai County, Xinjiang of China.

The project is called the 'special non-metallic mineral inspection in [the] middle west of China, including flake and graphite, etc.' and belongs to the 'investigation projects of strategic new industrial minerals in urgent need" part of the survey, carried out by the China National Geological Exploration Center of Building Materials Industry.

According to the funding result, the mineral amount of flake graphite is 72.64 million tonnes, a super-large size mineral bed. The fixed carbon content of the ore is 6.15%, 23% of which is a flake size of +0.15 mm.

The yield rate of fixed carbon from the graphite concentrates is 94.87%, among which 12.01% is a flake size of +0.15mm with a fixed carbon content of 90.17%, whereas the rest is a flake size of -0.15mm with a 95.15% fixed carbon content, meaning a good development prospect because the carbon content is so high.

The meeting confirmed that this graphite mine is the first super-large size lava rock-type flake graphite mine in China, opening up a new field to find undiscovered graphite mines. This could change the scarce graphite resource situation in Xinjiang and the distribution map of graphite mines in China, which could offer a new drive for the Xinjiang economy.

Industrial Minerals assessed flake graphite 8 5-87% C, +100 Mesh -80 Mesh, FCL, cif, Europe at $400-450 per tonne on November 16.

Due to the remote location of Xinjiang, however, which is to the southwest of Mongolia, east of Kazakhstan and over 4,000 km away form Qingdao port, graphite industry participants in China are not yet optimistic about the discovery. 

"Even the new graphite mines in Inner Mongolia are difficult to ship to customers, needless to say for the mines in Xinjiang, where the political situation is also unstable," one trader in Qingdao told Industrial Minerals.

Recent political instability in the region includes the rise of some groups in Xinjiang who want to divide China and commit terror attacks.

One solution to the shipment problem may be found in the 'One Belt One Road Initiative' policy, which aims, in part, to promote and improve exports from China through investment in infrastructure.

"There will be a railway from Xinjiang in west China to Pakistan’s port in the Indian Ocean, this way the goods are no longer passing Singapore to get to Europe, but [this will only work] if the railway is safe enough and avoids any terrorist attacks, then it will be a shorter way to transport to Europe", one graphite trader in China said. 

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  • | 25 Nov 2017, 11:17 PM

    Their definition of reserves is obviously different than ours. A reserve has to be economic. If they have so much graphite why are they looking for more?