Graphite

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Features

  • Automakers navigate challenging times

    Tuesday, 12 October 2021

    Automotive manufacturers have faced a bumpy ride since the beginning of 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic hitting production and demand, while its effects on the supply chain have created shortages of materials and components. Myra Pinkham unpacks the trends and outlines the road ahead.

  • Amorphous graphite price spread widens

    Wednesday, 15 September 2021

    China’s amorphous graphite price has widened downward over the past month on mixed market sentiment brought about by slow downstream demand in China but stronger demand in seaborne markets.

  • INTERVIEW: ‘We will be seeking a good balance between capital- and knowledge-intensive materials’ - TV Narendran

    Monday, 14 June 2021

    With responsibilities across Tata Steel’s diverse international portfolio of steelmaking assets, chief executive officer and managing director TV Narendran has a wide-ranging view of, and experience in, the global steel industry. He told Kunal Bose about the company’s strategy to thrive in a changing world for major steel producers

  • Looking for answers on carbon reduction

    Monday, 14 June 2021

    The steel and metals industries stress that their products are key to enabling solutions to address global environmental priorities. Myra Pinkham gathers international views on progress in ‘green’ transformation and asks what today’s environmental goals imply for industrial production and future demand

  • The perils and merits of ‘fake flake’ graphite

    Tuesday, 19 January 2021

    More instances of “fake flake” graphite being sold as genuine material have been reported, especially as large flake sizes. Fastmarkets spoke with market sources to gauge this material’s effect on the market and its uses when sold correctly.

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Market Brief

Graphite is one of most versatile of non-metallic minerals. It is one of four main natural forms of carbon along with coke, coal, anthracite and diamond. Graphite can also be manufactured synthetically, primarily via the Acheson Process which utilises lower purity carbon-bearing raw materials blended with tar pitch.

Natural graphite is produced in three commercial forms: amorphous (60-85%C), flake (>85%C) and vein (>90%C). Vein graphite is only being mined in Sri Lanka.

Graphite’s main markets are a combination of traditional industry – refractories (high temperature bricks and linings utilised in metal production, ceramics, petrochemicals and cement industries) – as well as batteries and the main anode material. Other markets include steel-making (as a recarburizer), brake-linings for vehicles and lubricants.

Natural and synthetic graphite industries operate independently and have little crossover in market share and end-uses.

Natural graphite supply

Natural graphite production was 1.1m tonnes worldwide in 2012. Of this total, flake accounted for 55%, amorphous 44% and vein 1%.

The dominance of Chinese production is the main talking point in the industry. China accounted for 79% of total world output followed by Brazil, India, North Korea and Canada. Smaller levels of production are also seen in Norway, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.

The natural graphite industry is going through a corrective phase following over two decades of no new supply coming on-stream.

China is focusing on controlling its sprawling domestic graphite industry and improving pollution levels and mining practices. At the same time a macro-economic push to move from lower value exports to producing value added products is expected to see less graphite concentrate destined for export and higher production of downstream products such as spherical graphite and battery anode materials.

The 2011 exploration boom

The emergence of electric vehicles (EV) and the potential boom in lithium-ion battery demand has buoyed interest in graphite’s role as a major battery raw material. This led to an exploration boom between 2011 and 2012 which saw over 70 new companies being established, predominately focused on exploration in Canada.

Towards the end of 2012, the rush slowed as investment from the capital markets dried up.

Graphite is one of most versatile of non-metallic minerals. It is one of four main natural forms of carbon along with coke, coal, anthracite and diamond. Graphite can also be manufactured synthetically, primarily via the Acheson Process which utilises lower purity carbon-bearing raw materials blended with tar pitch.

Natural graphite is produced in three commercial forms: amorphous (60-85%C), flake (>85%C) and vein (>90%C). Vein graphite is only being mined in Sri Lanka.

Graphite’s main markets are a combination of traditional industry – refractories (high temperature bricks and linings utilised in metal production, ceramics, petrochemicals and cement industries) – as well as batteries and the main anode material. Other markets include steel-making (as a recarburizer), brake-linings for vehicles and lubricants.

Natural and synthetic graphite industries operate independently and have little crossover in market share and end-uses.

Natural graphite supply

Natural graphite production was 1.1m tonnes worldwide in 2012. Of this total, flake accounted for 55%, amorphous 44% and vein 1%.

The dominance of Chinese production is the main talking point in the industry. China accounted for 79% of total world output followed by Brazil, India, North Korea and Canada. Smaller levels of production are also seen in Norway, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.

The natural graphite industry is going through a corrective phase following over two decades of no new supply coming on-stream.

China is focusing on controlling its sprawling domestic graphite industry and improving pollution levels and mining practices. At the same time a macro-economic push to move from lower value exports to producing value added products is expected to see less graphite concentrate destined for export and higher production of downstream products such as spherical graphite and battery anode materials.

The 2011 exploration boom

The emergence of electric vehicles (EV) and the potential boom in lithium-ion battery demand has buoyed interest in graphite’s role as a major battery raw material. This led to an exploration boom between 2011 and 2012 which saw over 70 new companies being established, predominately focused on exploration in Canada.

Towards the end of 2012, the rush slowed as investment from the capital markets dried up.

Major graphite producer highlights

Nacional de Grafite, Brazil
Timcal Ltd, Canada
Skaland Graphite
• Grafitbergbau Kaiserberg, Austria
• Tirupati Carbons, India
• Agrawal Graphite Industries, India
• Tamin, India

Major graphite processors

Asbury Carbons
Superior Graphite

Graphite exploration company highlights

Northern Graphite, Canada
Focus Graphite, Canada
Ontario Graphite, Canada
Energizer Resources, Madagascar
Syrah Resources, Mozambique
Standard Graphite, Canada
• 
Talga Resources, Sweden
Graphite One, Canada

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