Leading Edge Materials expects to go into
commercial production of expandable graphite in two years
following the successful development of feedstock from the
Woxna graphite mine in Sweden.
Graphite flake from the Woxna mine in
Sweden will be used in value-added graphite products, such as
expandable graphite, from 2021, according to the interim chief
executive officer of Leading Edge Materials, which owns the
"We should be in commercial production of expandable graphite -
dependent on research and finance - in early 2021," Mark Saxon
told Fastmarkets on Wednesday July 31. "We are planning to
enter the batteries market in the second half of
Leading Edge Material, headquartered in
Canada, has successful completed the first phase of test work
to manufacture expandable graphite, the company said on
Feedstock for the test was sourced from stocks of flake from
the Woxna mine in Sweden, which stopped production in
The consultancy company ProGraphite performed the research
in Germany using run-of-mine +80 mesh (>180
However, Leading Edge Materials will have facilities to produce
expandable graphite on the site of the Woxna mine.
Output was halted at the mine in 2015 because of the low
margins available for graphite flake at the time.
The company said it could achieve prices for expandable
graphite of $2,000-4,000 per tonne, according to flake size,
expansion ratio and purity.
Meanwhile, Fastmarkets assessed the
graphite flake 94% C, +80 mesh, cif Europe market at $830
per tonne on July 25, stable week on week but down from $900
per tonne at the start of the year.
Expandable graphite flake is used in the
production of fire-resistant building products, textile and
"We will produce expandable material and supply it ready to
expand by customers or it will go into fire-resistant materials
and may never expand," Saxon said.
The company will primarily target buyers in Sweden and
Leading Edge Materials has no plans to re-join the flake spot
market. Instead, it is focused on the value-added graphite
market, such as expandable graphite, using flake from
"Research and development will use all of our stored material
– we will only restart the mine when the full supply
chain in place," Saxon said.
The move into the graphite battery market will take longer to
achieve than into expandable graphite to meet the standards and
reliability required by the market.
"The biggest growth will be for EV [electric vehicle]
batteries," Saxon said. "While the forecasts for demand are so
good, we are all waiting – buyers don’t
want to rush into things."