According to the research firm, only prices for graphite with the highest carbon grades (94 to 97 percent) were quoted to rise during the month. These grades are best suited for use in batteries because they require less purification.
Prices for fine- and medium-flake graphite saw the largest gains. Fine-flake prices increased by 36 percent, hitting an average of $863 tonne, while medium-flake prices increased by 31 percent to reach $953 per tonne. Fine- and medium-flake graphite are typically used to produce spherical graphite. Large-flake graphite is used in expandable graphite, and rose by 25 percent in October to average $998 per tonne.
Demand for graphite from lithium-ion battery manufacturers is expected to keep growing rapidly, but Roskill expects Chinese producers to be capable of meeting their initial needs. The firm believes these producers will be able to increase spherical graphite production rates and draw down raw material stocks.
In the long term, Roskill notes that the continuing closure of processing plants in China to curb emissions has set the scene for speculation about rising prices. “Prices for high grade material [are] forecast to continue rising through late 2017 and into 2018 as battery demand continues to rise and flake graphite producers rush to ramp-up new production,” it says.
October in review
What news did graphite companies release in October? We run through some highlights below. All companies included released news during the month and had market caps of at least $5 million at close of day Tuesday (October 31).
Project and mine developments
- Beowulf Mining (LSE:BEM) announced high-grade concentrate results for composite samples from its Aitolampi graphite project.
- Berkwood Resources (TSXV:BKR) completed a 13-hole Phase 1 drill program at its Lac Gueret project, noting that it intersected graphite in every hole. The company also acquired the Roscoe vanadium project during the month.
- Nouveau Monde Graphite (TSX:NOU) announced the results of a prefeasibility study for the West zone of the Tony claim block, part of its Matawinie graphite property. According to the company, the results show improvements from a June 2016 preliminary economic assessment.
- Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) achieved first production of intermediate concentrate from its Mozambique-based Balama project.
- Battery Minerals (ASX:BAT) signed a non-binding memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with China’s Qingdao Guangxing Electronic Materials and Japan’s MEIWA. The goal of both partnerships is to market and supply graphite to Asian lithium-ion battery makers. The company’s flagship Montepuez graphite project in Mozambique will be ready for commissioning in December 2018
- Callinex Mines (TSXV:CNX) signed an option agreement with Global Li-Ion Graphite (TSX:LION). Under the deal, Global can acquire 100 percent of Callinex’s Neuron graphite project in Northern Manitoba by paying $200,000 in cash and issuing 2,000,000 shares.
- Ceylon Graphite (TSXV:CYL) signed an agreement to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of JADS Enterprises, a Sri Lankan mining company that has five graphite exploration grid units and an exploration license in the country’s Malsiripura/Kurunegela region.
- Great Lakes Graphite (TSXV:GLK) received an initial purchase order for 50,000 pounds of micronized natural flake graphite from a new customer. The company said the customer, which is unnamed for reasons of commercial confidentiality, is a Fortune 500 corporation.
- Among other things, Magnis Resources (ASX:MNS) signed a MOU for a 30 GWh lithium-ion gigafactory and integrated lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Germany.
- Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and Hazer (ASX:HZR) signed a non-binding heads of agreement to jointly develop a large-scale commercial synthetic graphite facility. They will initially target production of at least 1,000 tonnes per year of ultra-high-purity graphite.
- Alabama Graphite (TSXV:CSPG) received positive results from its lead-acid battery purified micronized graphite product from RSR Technologies. The firm also executed a letter of intent with an established US-based lead-acid battery manufacturer to supply high-purity, natural-flake premium purified micronized graphite product.
- First Graphite (ASX:FGR) is making progress on building a commercial graphene facility, with completion scheduled for the end of 2017.
- Focus Graphite (TSXV:FMS) created a 613 Ah/Kg reversible-capacity silicon-enhanced graphite anode for lithium-ion batteries. The company said its new anode is capable of doubling the theoretical capacity of 372 Ah/Kg. Focus also introduced its new “superfine grade” of coated spherical graphite for lithium-ion batteries.
- Leading Edge Materials (TSXV:LEM) is taking part in a Swedish government-funded research project entitled “Natural Swedish Graphite for Future Lithium Ion Batteries.” The project is focused on the application and optimization of high-purity natural graphite as an anode material for lithium-ion batteries, using graphite sourced from Leading Edge’s Woxna project.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Berkwood Resources, Focus Graphite, Leading Edge Material and Magnis Resources are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.