Currently, three growing applications of this mineral – lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells, nuclear reactors, and the potential uses of wonder material graphene – are making the quest for graphite heat up.
Jeb Handwerger, an analyst, told Mining Weekly this month that he expects global demand for graphite to increase exponentially over the next few years from current production of about 1.1 million tons a year, more than 70 percent of which comes from China. He said demand could reach 1.6 million tons in five years, thanks to demand just from lithium-ion batteries, which use much more graphite than lithium.
Lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells
Electric vehicles, the buzzword of our times, could mean a surge in demand for high-grade flake graphite in the coming years as these green vehicles will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. While no concrete statistics are available, Brent Nykoliation, Vice President of Business Development at Energizer Resources Inc. (TSX:EGZ,OTCBB:ENZR,FWB:YE5) commented that China is reportedly preparing to stock up enough graphite to put one million electric and hybrid-electric vehicles a year on the road starting in 2015. At an average of 130 pounds of graphite needed per electric car battery, about 300,000 tons of graphite will be required.