According to UK energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, natural graphite concentrate supply is moving west away from China towards East Africa.
|China zeros in on global graphite|
Wood Mackenzie predict that demand from battery makers will force the supply chain west as China’s natural graphite concentrate supply chain falls from 68 per cent of the market share in 2017 to 31 per cent of the market in 2040.
Recent tariff changes have already begun to show in China’s import statistics.
In 2018, as a result of growing African graphite supply, China became a major flake graphite importer for the first time in a generation, with flake volumes over 60,000 tonnes for the year over a period which also saw a 12 pe cent decline in Chinese exports. This trend has continued into 2019, with import data showing that in February 2019, China imported approximately 13,500 tonnes of flake graphite.
The Chinese Government is encouraging trade with Africa by means of zero tariffs on imported goods and Chinese suppliers have already begun to acknowledge that new graphite supply from Mozambique and Madagascar are beginning to compete within the Chinese market, by providing low cost feedstock, which is often of a higher quality. In 2018, Madagascar was the second largest offshore supplier of natural graphite to China after Mozambique.
The rising Chinese supply constraints coupled with the rising interest in the graphite market more broadly, and for use in the battery sector specifically, have resulted in China now being open to global graphite.
According to Energy Storage Journal, “production costs have been rising and supply falling in China since 2016 amid plant closures, mainly in the Shandong and Heilongjiang provinces, the centres for the country’s flake graphite and spherical graphite processing industry and mine”.
As this story continues to unfold over the course of the year, it is expected that number of smaller Chinese operations will be displaced by African suppliers and China will become a net importer of flake graphite for the first time.
Australian based BlackEarth Minerals NL is fast becoming perfectly the leading supplier of high-grade large flake graphite to the Chinese market.
On 1 May 2019, the Company appointed Australia Minerals & Resources (AustMin) as strategic offtake advisors for the Chinese market.
Founder and Chairman of AustMin, Eileen Hao, is a graphite specialist with significant experience working in industrial minerals, metals and applications, specialising on lithium-ion battery materials and graphite applications both in China and globally.
BlackEarth continues to advance its portfolio of Madagascan graphite projects concurrently with discussions in China surrounding offtake agreements and independent product testing of its high-quality graphite concentrate.
据《储能杂志》(Energy Storage Journal)报道，“自2016年以来，随着工厂关闭，中国的生产成本一直在上升但是供应量却在下降。这主要对在山东和黑龙江两省造成了很大的影响，因为这两省是中国片状石墨和球形石墨加工业及采矿业的中心。”
澳大利亚的BlackEarth Minerals NL正迅速成为中国市场的优质大片状石墨的领先供应商。
2019年5月1日，公司任命澳大利亚矿业公司（Australia Minerals &）作为中国市场的战略顾问。
*Article published in the July-September 2019 issue of The Asia Miner