An Australian company set to contribute more than US$1.0 billion to the Tanzanian economy over the next 20 years through local graphite mine projects, says the global market opportunity for battery grade graphite is unequivocal.

Speaking on the second day of the three day Paydirt 2018 Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, Kibaran Resources Chairman, Mr Robert Pett, said the market opportunity for the commodity was “now” despite a lot of “noise” around the battery component supply chain and forecast supply and demand estimates.

“A raft of high end, credible industry and government agencies have initiated substantial modelling around graphite and the opportunity it presents is quite clear,” Mr Pett said.

“Standout and verifiable conclusions range from the expected presence of one billion electric vehicles on the world’s roads by 2025 under a lithium-ion battery market momentum worth US$290 billion by 2025,” he said.

“Some 47% of the lithium-ion battery market will require a component contribution from spherical graphite and this will generate a 700% increase in natural flake spherical graphite demand in just the next seven years.

“This will stretch global consumption of natural flake spherical graphite from 127,000 tonnes currently per annum to 800,000tpa.”

Cobalt, nickel, lithium and manganese would fulfil the suite of ingredients needed for lithium-ion battery production.

Mr Pett also pointed to the accelerating demand from the energy industry for domestic and industrial application lithium-ion battery storage options.

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