China’s economic transformation to drive new global demand for flake graphite: Australian junior explorer boss
The transformation of China’s economy away from manufacturing to downstream technology development is expected to drive significant new demand for the world’s flake graphite producers.
That – coupled with the emergence of new battery technology across all forms of light energy use and several other factors – is extending the graphite “bubble”, which has proven to be “robust and with longevity”.
That is the view of Walkabout Resources Managing Director, Mr Allan Mulligan, who was addressing the second day of the Paydirt 2015 Africa Down Under Conference in Perth today.
“The spherical graphite market is undergoing rapid growth,” Mr Mulligan said.
“This is been driven mainly on the back of China’s economic transformation from manufacturing to downstream technology development and the emergence of new battery technology across all forms of light energy,” he said.
“This has surprised the traditional market as the graphite ‘bubble’ has proven to be robust and with longevity.
“Moving forward, the successful development of graphite projects for the near future is about the management of the supply chain and not just about the geology of the deposit.”
Walkabout Resources is developing the Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project in a joint venture with a local exploration rights holder.
A Memorandum of Understanding will allow the African-focused junior mineral explorer to purchase 70% of four prospecting licenses totalling 325km2 in the emerging graphite province in south-eastern Tanzania.
The project is “right next to” Magnis Resources Nachu Project, which is valued at more than US$150 million.
Mr Mulligan said the success of its high-grade project hinged on the company’s ability to bring the project on stream in a short timeframe to maximise current global demand for jumbo flake graphite.
“We believe our Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project differentiates itself from other similar projects in a number of ways,” Mr Mulligan said.
“This includes the very high ratio of our large and jumbo flakes will secure a higher price than standard flake ratio products,” he said.
“Further, premium graphite product is more highly sought after by end users currently locked out of the market by other ‘closed loop’ supply contracts for jumbo flakes.
“Sensitivity to market shortages of jumbo flake will also be on the upside for Walkabout, while the ongoing demand will cap the downside.”
Mr Mulligan said Walkabout’s proposed mine site being relatively close to a port and moderate logistics and transport costs would also provide further upside to the project.