Industrial Minerals’ Simon Moores reported yesterday that China’s Heilongjiang province, the world’s top flake graphite-producing region, has officially announced plans to start consolidating graphite mines in the next 18 months.
The move is part of an attempt to curb pollution in the area and will be followed by five further steps: dust control, production of value-added products, enforcement of entrance standards, tailing pond safety measures and the creation of green mines.
As quoted in the market news:
This has put a question mark over the future of the world’s largest flake graphite producing region, with the province accounting for 45% of Chinese production and 29% of global output in 2013. It will also come as a major boost to every new graphite exploration project looking to enter the market in the next three years.
The move follows high profile graphite dust and wastewater problems in Pingdu City, Shandong province – the country’s third largest producing region – which led to the ongoing blanket closure of all processing operations in December 2013.
The majority of the world’s medium flake graphite – used in variety of applications from refractories and lubricants to lithium-ion batteries – comes from Heilongjiang. This includes the industry’s most widely used product, -100 mesh, 94% C (-194).