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China currently produces about 80% of the world’s

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Rocketstocks   Thursday, 03/01/12 02:37:35 PM
Re: None
Post # of 677 
China currently produces about 80% of the world’s graphite supply but has restricted its exports. Resource nationalism, as Berry calls it, will play a crucial role in graphite supply and demand. Britain, the US and other countries have already designated graphite as economically critical.

He noted that emerging economies bring with them a rising quality of life, and “You can’t attain that without access to affordable, reliable and cheap electricity.

China’s current five-year plan “is the greenest in Chinese history,” Berry said, with the government committed to over $630 billion of energy research and development. “Graphite is essential to the Chinese drive to find next-generation technology in energy storage, energy generation and energy efficiency.”

According to the US Geological Survey, 2011 world graphite production totalled 1.1 million tonnes. Some 60% of that is amorphous graphite, suited to steelmaking and other traditional uses. Only 40% of current production is the flake graphite necessary for lithium-ion batteries and other new technologies. Traditional graphite use alone is expected to increase by 5% a year.

Berry explained, “These numbers ignore higher growth rates in batteries, that 25% I mentioned, and the potential for fuel cells and the potential growth in China and the US for pebble-bed nukes. Looking at the battery demand alone, compounded by 25% year on year until 2020, we’ll need 327,000 tonnes not just of graphite but of large-flake, high-purity graphite. If you add to that pebble-bed nuclear reactor demand just from China, that would require another 400,000 tonnes of large-flake graphite by 2020. Current global supply of large-flake graphite is just 400,000 tonnes. Batteries and pebble-bed nuclear reactors would require double the supply of large-flake graphite in the next eight years.”

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