Graphite: Technologies and Global Markets

 Published On: Aug, 2017 |    No of Pages: 278 |  Published By: BCC Research | Format: PDF
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The global market for graphite reached $12.5 billion in 2016 and should reach $18.2 billion in 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2016 through 2021.

Report Includes

-In depth review of the global graphite market.
-Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2021.
-Complete coverage of the exploding battery market and its impact on the graphite mining industry and the graphite markets.
-Details and discussion of the graphite mines under development with data on all ongoing projects.
-Discussion of the major challenges and opportunities faced by the market.
-Regional analysis of the market with respect to production, prices and export and import data.
-Review of the graphite-related patents by chronology and by market players.
-Detailed profiles of major companies in the industry with complete financial details.
-The most comprehensive graphite market analysis available today.

Study Goals and Objectives

Graphite is a material with unique properties and performance characteristics. The application markets of graphite have been undergoing fundamental changes in the current decade. This report attempts to provide an overview of the material properties of graphite, its application markets and the fundamental changes happening in this market.

The global graphite market is estimated to have been $11.9 billion in 2015, growing to $12.5 billion in 2016, and is projected to be $18.2 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2016 through 2021.

Graphite occurs naturally in numerous locations and in three major forms: flakes, amorphous form, and crystalline form, more commonly known as vein graphite. Graphite can also be made synthetically, and the synthetic graphite is widely used in numerous industries such as steel making, refractories and electronics.

In this report, both the natural and synthetic graphite markets are reviewed, as are the global resources available and the processes involved in mining and purifying, or concentrating, the natural graphite. Each of the three types of natural graphite has its own unique properties and hence applications; and these are discussed in detail with statistics wherever available. The natural and synthetic markets overlap as several applications can use either type of material.

The Acheson process of manufacturing synthetic graphite is reviewed. The benefit of this approach is that large parts can be made synthetically and then machined to dimensions appropriate for the application. The purities achieved for the final graphite in the synthetic approach are higher than what is possible from the concentration process followed for the natural materials, and this makes the synthetic graphite more attractive to applications such as electronics where purity is critical for the application.

The properties of graphite that make it widely useful in numerous applications are listed. Another goal of this report is to understand these properties and how newer applications are being developed.

The electrical conductivity properties are ushering in a large new market for graphite, in the field of energy storage applications. The storage battery markets are seeing a significant boom, thanks to the development of electric vehicles in the past decade. This single application has fundamentally shaken up the graphite market, and one of the key objectives of this report is to understand these shifts. The shift is largely affecting the natural graphite market, and the report attempts to summarize these changes and how various market participants are stepping up to benefit, and, at the same time, pushing the changes in other application markets.

The number of new graphite mines that are being developed is significant. The battery market alone has the potential to double or triple the number of graphite mines operating in various geographic segments of the market. These changes are happening already and the report analyzes these new mining projects in detail, to understand the market trends. Australian and Canadian companies are back in the scene and are expected to control significant market share by 2021.

While the market is exploding in the battery segment, the general graphite markets have been hit hard because of the slowdown in the steel industry. Electric Arc Furnaces, which use synthetic graphite electrodes, have seen their volumes drop in recent years and this has caused, not only a drop in the volume of synthetic graphite electrodes, but also in graphite prices. The market is cyclical and 2016 was expected to be the bottom of the cycle, indicating strong market growth coming back to support the synthetic graphite market over this forecast period. Understanding these market trends and their impact on the graphite market is another objective of this report.

A third application market for graphite that has seen a lot of interest and growth in the past few years is graphene. While there are multiple methods to prepare graphene, several of these start with graphite as the raw material, and hence the changes that are happening to the graphene market are also of importance to the graphite market players. The report also covers this market segment.

The goal of this report is to understand all the changes that are happening in the graphite market, to analyze the impact of these combinations and to forecast the size and nature of the graphite market for the forecast period through 2021.

Reasons for Doing This Study

BCC Research has not covered the graphite markets in the past. The material is considered a commodity by most.

However, a deeper look into the graphite market suggests that it is anything but a commodity market. There is not a single seller or buyer for graphite who treats the material as a commodity and shops around for the cheapest price alone. Each application market has its own special requirements for the graphite they buy and use, may it be in terms of purity, contaminant levels, particle size distribution, nature of the particles, or the electrical and thermal properties of the material. No individual buyer of graphite would interchange sources without detailed material testing; and in most cases, even final product testing.

Further, the vast shift in the electric vehicle market, as well as the energy storage market, is causing a paradigm shift in the graphite industry. Green energies such as wind and solar markets are bringing in large requirements for energy storage in terms of batteries. Cell phones and other electronic equipment all require power and energy storage devices. Of all the battery technologies available to date, lithium ion battery technology has stood out as unique in its ability to store large quantities of power, and in delivering the power to devices and equipment quickly, all in very limited storage space. These batteries use a large quantity of graphite, often between 30 grams and 40 grams of graphite for each gram of lithium used. This is a perfect example of an application for graphite that is far from a commodity market.

Regulatory pushes are driving these changes. Europe has mandated reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle to less than 75 grams per kilometer by 2025. This can only be achieved by significantly reducing internal combustion engines and adding more electric vehicles to the market.

Germany is discussing a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine–driven vehicles by 2030. If enacted, Germany will be the first country in the world to make this happen. These regulatory changes are directly affecting the graphite market because of its impact in the battery markets.

The noncommodity nature of graphite, along with the numerous fast growing applications that are being developed for it, further impacted by regulatory changes, creates for a very interesting market situation. This is the main reason for BCC Research to provide a market analysis for this material.

Intended Audience

This report is aimed at five major audience groups.

The mining industry: Natural graphite is a mined material. The deposits available across the world vary in its graphite content from a few percentages to as high as 31%. Numerous mapping technologies have made the mineral resource analysis more competitive and less costly. This has supported the graphite mining industry to a large extent. The graphite mining industry is one of the target audience groups for this report. The battery markets are mainly making use of natural graphite that can be purified to the requirements of the battery markets, now in a commercially viable fashion, in comparison to synthetic graphite.

Traditional graphite markets: Graphite has been used in numerous industries for centuries, and these markets are well established. The major markets include electrodes, pencils, lubricants, friction, and refractories. These market segments are analyzed in detail, the changes happening are tabulated and the trends are discussed. The growth in the natural graphite markets is affecting some of these segments and the report covers these in detail.

Financial markets: Mining, by its nature, is a capital-intensive business. It takes large amounts of money and several years to get a new mine to be operational, and various financial markets are thus directly involved in supporting the financial investment needs of this market. Forecasting of resources, production volumes, market prices and returns of investment are critical for these financial markets to function smoothly. This report covers the economic assessments of all upcoming mines in detail, and provides a comparison and summary of these operations. The financial market players involved in these transactions will benefit from the contents of this report.

Technocrats and scientists: The recent growing applications of graphite, mainly related to the lithium– ion battery market and the graphene markets, are highly technical in nature. These developments happen in spurts with new technologies being developed for mineral resource analysis, purification of ores, particle screening and segregation, converting the graphite into spherical particles (called spheroidization), coating of these spherical powders, further usage of these powders in batteries, and so on. On the graphene side, new approaches to make graphene are being developed, that are cost competitive to earlier approaches. Some of the market players are taking a vertical integration approach to add value to their mineral products by developing their own process technologies to convert the graphite mineral into value added products for specific applications. The technical details involved in such changes are detailed in this report.

The report also has a separate chapter looking into patents and intellectual property being developed in this market space. The recent growth in the number of patents being granted for various graphite applications suggests that the next few decades will see large commercialization of these technologies. This report covers the technical aspects as well as details of the intellectual property developments in the application markets for graphite.

C–level executives: The report is also intended to support the needs of C–level leaders in the industry. As graphite has been a stable and established market for several of the participants, the scale and pace of change that is happening makes reaction and comprehension sometimes difficult. The report attempts to catch and discuss this dichotomy of the market, so that the larger established companies and their management can understand the changes happening in detail, and hopefully can successfully incorporate changes in their own company’s approaches. BCC Research has also provided information on investors that are already participating in the market, as several mining companies are at the stage of raising capital.

Scope of Report

The report covers the global graphite markets, providing the market information for 2015 and 2016 and forecasts for 2021.

The scope of the report is coverage of the four graphite market segments – refractory and metallurgy, electrical, technical, and the rest – analyzed by application and geography. Estimated values used are based on manufacturers’ total revenues.

Refractory and metallurgy markets cover those applications that make use of the high temperature stability of graphite. Electrical applications are those that tap into the high electrical conductivity of purer grades of graphite. Technical markets make use of the strength properties, lubrication and radiation absorption. For these segments, we report the status and changes happening in the markets.

The graphite market can also be segmented into natural and synthetic graphite markets. One of the focus areas is the development of natural graphite mining and application, driven largely by the lithium– ion battery markets that are fundamentally changing the structure of the graphite industry.

For the synthetic graphite market, BCC Research covers the nature of individual application markets, focusing on graphite electrodes. Another application covered in detail is cathodes for aluminum smelting.

In terms of geographic segmentation of the market, the report provides detailed statistics of mining data as well as trade data. Trade statistics for graphite exports and imports for various countries are analyzed in detail, and the past growth rates are provided. Geographical segmentation for numerous application markets is provided.

The large change in natural graphite mining is going to shift the balances of trade for a large number of countries and these changes are also discussed in this report. China has been the market leader in the segment. Australian and Canadian companies will make strong inroads into the market in the coming years, and could command a quarter of the market in 2021.
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Study Goals and Objectives 1
Reasons for Doing This Study 2
Intended Audience 3
Scope of Report 4
Information Sources 5
Methodology 6
Geographic Breakdown 6
Analyst's Credentials 10
Related BCC Research Reports 10

Chapter 2: Summary and Highlights 12

Chapter 3: Graphite Markets 15
Graphite: Introduction 15
Structure and Properties 15
Applications 16
Natural Graphite 19
Natural Amorphous Graphite 19
Natural Flake Graphite 20
Natural Crystalline / Vein Graphite 21
Synthetic Graphite 21
An Ever-Profitable Business 23
Isotropic Graphite 28
Graphite Markets 29
Natural Graphite Market 30
China – What Is Really Going On? 33
Natural Graphite Mining 35
Costs for Mining Graphite 37
Vein Graphite 40
Flake Graphite Mining is Hot 41
Synthetic Graphite Market 49
Graphene 52
Graphite Market Structure 54
Graphite Market Trends and Forecasts 58
Impact on the Natural Graphite Markets 58
Impact on the Synthetic Graphite Markets 59
Vertical Integration in Natural Graphite Markets 61

Chapter 4: United States and European Graphite Markets 64
United States Graphite Market 64
Natural Graphite 64
Synthetic Graphite 66
European Graphite Markets 66
Natural Graphite Imports 66
Natural Graphite Exports 68
Synthetic Graphite Imports 71
Synthetic Graphite Exports 74

Chapter 5: Graphite Applications Market 78
Graphite Electrodes for Steel Making 79
Cathode Bricks 87
Graphite Crucibles 93
Refractory Applications 93
Graphite for Lithium Ion Batteries 94
Global Battery Markets 94
Global Lithium Ion Batteries Market 97
Application Markets for Lithium Ion Batteries 103
Status of Gigafactories 111
Graphite Consumption in Batteries 113
Processing Natural Graphite for Lithium Ion Batteries 121
New Graphite Mines Supporting L–iB Market 125
Market Forecast 131
Alkaline Battery 135
Carbon Brush Market 136
Fuel Cell Applications 137
Friction – Brake Pads, Linings and Clutch Facings 140
Carbon Fibers / Graphite Fibers 143
Expandable Graphite 143
Graphene Applications 148
Nuclear Applications 153
Recarburizer Market for Steels 156
Pencils Market 157
Other Graphite Markets and Applications 158
Global Graphite Market Projections 160

Chapter 6: Graphite Technologies and Patents 163
Graphite Applications in Batteries 164
Patent Analysis by Year 165
Core Patents in Battery Applications of Graphite 165
Graphite Patents in Battery Applications: by Company 169

Chapter 7: Company Profiles 173
About BCC Research 301
About BCC Research 302
BCC Membership 302
BCC Custom Research 302

List of Tables

Summary Table: Global Graphite Markets, by Segment, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 13
Table 1 Overview of Graphite Applications by Property 17
Table 2 Flake Graphite Grades: Particle Sizes, Market Terminology and Prices 20
Table 3 Synthetic Graphite: Material and Energy Inputs Needed 23
Table 4 List of Graphite Applications, by Type of Graphite Used 25
Table 5 Applications by Purity and Particle Size of Graphite Used 26
Table 6 Global Isostatic Graphite Manufacturers and Capacities (MT) 29
Table 7 Global Export Data of Natural Graphite, Through 2015 ($ Thousands) 30
Table 8 Global Import Data of Natural Graphite, Through 2015 ($ Thousands) 31
Table 9 Global Natural Graphite Resources and Production, Through 2015 (Thousands per MT 35
Table 10 Production, Capex and Revenue Estimates of 45 New Graphite Mines Under Development 42
Table 11 Global Export Data of Synthetic Graphite, 2011–2015 ($ Thousands 50
Table 12 Global Import Data of Synthetic Graphite, by Country, through 2015 ($ Thousands) 51
Table 13 Estimates for Revenues from Graphite Companies, by Country, 2021 ($ Millions) 57
Table 14 Graphite Grades Used in Various Applications and Markets That Will be Disrupted 60
Table 15 Natural Graphite Data for United States, 2011-2015 (MT) 64
Table 16 Natural Graphite Consumption in the United States, 2013 (MT) 65
Table 17 Natural Graphite Import Data for E.U. Countries,2011-2016 (MT) 66
Table 18 Natural Graphite Import Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (Million Euros) 67
Table 19 Average Natural Graphite Import Price, by Country, 2016 (€ per MT) 68
Table 20 Natural Graphite Export Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (MT) 69
Table 21 Natural Graphite Export Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (Million Euros) 70
Table 22 Average Natural Graphite Export Price, by Country, 2016 (€ per MT) 71
Table 23 Synthetic Graphite Import Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (MT) 72
Table 24 Synthetic Graphite Import Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (Million Euros) 72
Table 25 Average Synthetic Graphite Import Price, by Country, 2016 (€ per MT) 73
Table 26 Synthetic Graphite Export Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (MT) 74
Table 27 Synthetic Graphite Export Data for E.U. Countries, 2011-2016 (Million Euros) 75
Table 28 Average Synthetic Graphite Export Price, by Country, 2016 (€ per MT) 76
Table 29 Typical Electrode Composition 79
Table 30 Partial List of Customers for Graphite Electrodes in the Steel Industry (EAF) 86
Table 31 Global Market for Graphite Electrodes, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 87
Table 32 Global Graphite Demand for Cathodes, Through 2021 (MT) 92
Table 33 Global Market for Graphite Cathodes, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 92
Table 34 Global Market for Graphite Crucibles, by Region, through 2021 ($ Millions) 93
Table 35 Global Market for Graphite Refractories, by Region, through 2021 ($ Millions) 93
Table 36 Lithium Ion Battery Exports by Country, 2012–2016 ($ Millions) 98
Table 37 Lithium Ion Battery Imports, by Country, 2012–2016 ($ Millions) 99
Table 38 List of Companies in the Lithium Battery Industry, by Country 100
Table 39 Top Ten Electric Vehicles in the European Market, 2016 (%) 105
Table 40 Electric Vehicles and Launch Years 105
Table 41 Companies Investing in Battery Technology for Electric Vehicles 107
Table 42 Projected Graphite Demand from Gigafactories 114
Table 43 Application Markets for Lithium Ion Batteries and Growth Rates, 2014 and 2024 114
Table 44 Estimates for Graphite Usage in Vehicle Batteries (Kg) 120
Table 45 Estimates for Graphite Usage in Automotive Batteries, By Market Penetration of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles 120
Table 46 Comparison of Natural and Synthetic Graphite for Use in Lithium Ion Batteries 123
Table 47 Cost and Property Comparison of L–iB Anode Materials 126
Table 48 Canadian Graphite Mining Companies 127
Table 49 Australian Graphite Mining Companies 127
Table 50 Graphite Size Distribution of Advanced Mining Projects (%) 131
Table 51 Graphite Demand for Batteries, by Application, through 2021 (MT) 132
Table 52 Global Market for Graphite in Lithium Ion Battery Industry, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 134
Table 53 Global Market for Graphite in Alkaline Batteries, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 136
Table 54 Global Market for Graphite in Carbon Brush Industry, by Region, through 2021 ($ Millions) . 136
Table 55 Global PEMFC Market, by Region, Through 2017 ($ Millions) 138
Table 56 Global Market for Graphite in Fuel Cells Market, through 2021 ($ Millions) 140
Table 57 Brake Pad Technologies and Graphite Usage in Each 141
Table 58. Global Graphite Demand for Friction Industry, Through 2021 (MT) 142
Table 59 Global Market for Graphite in Friction Industry, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 142
Table 60 Companies Active on Expandable Graphite Business 145
Table 61 Global Market for Carbon Fibers and Expandable Graphites, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 148
Table 62 Unique Properties of Graphene 150
Table 63 Comparison of Graphene Types and Graphite Markets 152
Table 64 Graphite Properties in Nuclear Applications 155
Table 65 Graphite Grades Compared per Nuclear Market Targets 156
Table 66 Global Market for Graphites in Recarburizers, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 157
Table 67 Global Market for Graphite in Pencils, by Region, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 158
Table 68 High Purity Graphite Market Demand and Price, by Segment, 2017 159
Table 69 Global Market for Graphite in All Other Applications Combined, Through 2021 ($ Millions) .. 160
Table 70 Global Graphite Markets, by Application, Through 2021 ($ Millions) 161
Table 71 U.S. Patents Specific to Battery Applications of Graphite, 1976–2016 166
Table 72 Number of U.S. Graphite Patents on Battery Applications by Company Name 170
Table 73 U.S. Patents Granted to Tesla on Graphite Usage 171
Table 74 Financials at AMG–GK, 2015 and 2016 174
Table 75 Financials at Alabama Graphite, 2014-2016 (Canadian Dollars) 175
Table 76 Financial Estimates for Coosa Project, Alabama Graphite 176
Table 77 Financials at American Graphite Technologies, 2011-2015 (U.S. Dollars) 177
Table 78 Resource Estimates of the Eyre Peninsula Graphite Projects, Archer Exploration Ltd. 178
Table 79 Feasibility Study Estimates of the Eyre Peninsula Graphite Project, Archer Exploration Ltd. .. 178
Table 80 Consolidated Findings of the Montepuez DFS and PSG PFS, Battery Minerals Ltd. 182
Table 81 Financials at Battery Minerals Ltd., 2012-2016 (Canadian Dollars) 182
Table 82 Scoping Study Estimates of the Mahenge Graphite Project, Black Rock Mining Ltd. 185
Table 83 Financials at Black Rock Mining Ltd., 2012-2016 (U.S. Dollars) 185
Table 84 Financials at Bora Bora Resources,2012 2016 (Australian Dollars) 186
Table 85 Project Feasibility Estimates of the Matale Project, Bora Bora Resources 187
Table 86 Financials at Canada Carbon, 2015 and 2016 (Canadian Dollars) 189
Table 87 Financials at Capricorn Metals Limited, 2012-2016 (Australian Dollars) 190
Table 88 Financials at China Carbon Graphite Group, 2011-2013 ($ Thousands) 192
Table 89 Financials at China Carbon Graphite Group, 2014-2016 ($) 192
Table 90 Estimates of the Aukam Graphite Deposit, CKR Carbon 194
Table 91 Financials at CKR Carbon Corporation, 2012-2016 (Canadian Dollars) 194
Table 92 Graphite Products and Properties, Cocan Graphite 196
Table 93 Financials at Discovery Africa Limited, 2012-2016 (Australian Dollars) 199
Table 94. Financials at DNI Metals Inc., 2014-2016 (Canadian Dollars) 200

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