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As graphite demand increases, geopolitical dimension becomes more apparent

ProEdgeWire’s Graphite and Graphene Weekly Review sees surging demand for graphite and its derivative graphene, not least because of their important role in battery technology, where graphite continues to be a traditional component, while graphene is considered a major factor in future generation batteries. Recent reports of aircraft batteries catching fire won’t change that – as ProEdgeWire’s Allesandro Bruni points out: “for all the gloom experienced by the Boeing, the solution to its problem will be found and it will still involve batteries using graphite anodes.”

Corresponding with ProEdgeWire’s findings, a new USGS report on graphite outlines increases in both U.S. domestic graphite demand and prices paid for the material. Gross domestic imports of graphite for consumption rose by more than 7 percent from 2010 to 2011.

While demand is increasing, China, which not only dominates a large share of global graphite supply but also holds all of the spherical graphite processing technology, is pushing to regulate its graphite industry and – very similar to the Rare Earths situation – is in a position to engage in geopolitical powerplays in this field. In this case, however, the saving grace may be that with graphite and graphene, the rest of the world still has a few years left to correct the problem if it places an emphasis on supply diversity now.

If you’d like to learn more about the relevance of graphite and why graphene may just be the “new black,” check out American Resources expert Simon Moores’s study titled “The Natural Graphite Report 2012.” The report by Moores, a London-based graphite market specialist with Industrial Minerals, reviews “every major graphite producing company around the world, building from the bottom up data and analysis of the industry. It also contains a focus on the commercialisation of graphene, its production and demand potential.”