Syrah misses Q1 2019 graphite price goal but ramps up production
Published: Thursday, 14 March 2019
The miner achieved lower than expected average prices in the quarter, but remains optimistic as output increases.
By Jon Stibbs
Graphite producer Syrah sold its material at a weighted
average price of $460-470 per tonne on a cif-destination basis
over the first quarter of 2019, according to its interim report
published on Thursday March 14.
The Australia-based company had published a guidance range
for sales at $500-600 per tonne and said the shortfall of
$40-130 per tonne could be explained by a high proportion of
sales of cheaper fines graphite and "faster than anticipated
progress towards [the] close out of lower priced contract
volumes from 2018." Syrah did not provide a breakdown of its
fines and coarse graphite production.
The closest equivalent price assessed by Fastmarkets IM is
for 94-97%C graphite flake, -100 mesh, on a cif Europe
basis. This was assessed at $650-840 per tonne on March 14,
steady over the first quarter.
Syrah said it was "optimistic that improved prices are
achievable on the basis of the forward contract and product
Production over the first quarter of the year matched the
bottom end of its production goal of 45,000-50,000 tonnes.
The company reported its sales volumes were anticipated to
be higher than production volumes at 45,000-50,000 tonnes.
However, this would be subject to shipping in
Meeting the company’s production goal
represented a recovery for the company, which had been hit by
problems at its Balama graphite operation in Mozambique.
A fire and issues with
equipment and at a plant in 2018 meant the company could
not meet its contract commitments for that year.
Graphite output from the asset in 2018 was 104,000 tonnes,
which was significantly short of its initial target of
Approximately 20% of production in 2018 was coarse flake
graphite, and the remainder was fines.
In 2019, Syrah declared it had started commercial
production at Balma and achieved its first production of
unpurified spherical graphite at its battery anode material
(BAM) facility at Louisiana in the United States.