Investments worth their weight in graphite
June 27, 2012 by Gold Editor
SOURCE: [The Critical Metals Report] - Graphite is the "it" metal of the moment, but as an investment space it remains largely misunderstood. In this exclusive interview with The Critical Metals Report, Glen Jones, executive director for the Western Hemisphere at Intierra Resource Intelligence, suggests investors research extensively to protect against loss, and names some of his favorite projects that may serve as a jumping-off point for the graphite-curious.
The Critical Metals Report: In a May 31 press release, your firm said, "If China's approach to rare earths was applied to graphite, the impact on global demand, supply and prices would be significant." Do you believe China will establish export quotas on different types of graphite?
Glen Jones: If the demand for the different products in which graphite can be used—for example, lithium-ion batteries—actually comes to fruition, then yes, I believe China will establish export quotas, because it will need graphite for its own internal production.
TCMR: Is the growth in graphite demand from current applications like refractory and lithium-ion batteries enough to support the 40 companies now seeking economic graphite deposits?
GJ: If this growth comes about, there could be a shortage of graphite. Not all of these companies will find deposits, but it is necessary to have 40 companies exploring—it increases the chance of discoveries.
TCMR: Graphite demand is growing at a rate of about 5% per annum right now. That's reasonably healthy, but not extraordinary. What catalysts are going to get investors excited?
GJ: Green energy initiatives: fuel cells, solar electricity, new-generation nuclear power and pebble-bed nuclear reactors. When some of those technologies will be perfected and when greater graphite demand will come still remains to be seen.
TCMR: You've said the graphite mining business is misunderstood. What is the source of confusion?