China tightens graphite export and US engages with allies to build key supply chains

来源:爱集微 #supply chain# #graphite# #export control#
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By Li Panpan

(JW Insights) Oct 31 -- China, the world's largest graphite producer and exporter, will require export permits as of December 1 for some graphite products, including spherical graphite used by automakers. The United States said it is engaged with its allies to assess the potential effects of China tightening exports of the key battery material, reported Reuters on October 20.

This is China's latest move to safeguard supplies of critical minerals and protect its manufacturing dominance. It refines more than 90% of the world's graphite into the material used in almost all EV battery anodes, the negatively charged portion of a battery, reported Reuters on October 23.

"These actions underscore the need to diversify supply chains. The United States will continue to engage with our allies and partners to build secure, sustainable, and resilient critical supply chains," a White House spokesperson said on October 20.

China's decision may escalate trade disputes globally and spur other countries to prioritize research into alternative sources and materials, industry executives said, reported Reuters on October 21.

The next generation of EVs is due to hit around 2025, and to stay ahead in a fast-changing industry, carmakers have been investing directly in mining projects to ensure future supplies of battery inputs.

But building mines takes between five and ten years, meaning China will keep its lead in supplying graphite for at least half a decade, miners in other countries say, as those projects are mostly still in pre-production.

"What China is saying to the West with this decision is that we are not going to help you make electric cars, you have to find your own way to do that," Canadian Northern Graphite CEO Hugues Jacquemin said, reported Reuters.

"We see China's move as a potential catalyst to highlight the urgency of improving domestic graphite supply," said John DeMaio, president of Graphex's graphene division.

"We've aligned ourselves with several graphite miners outside of China. I would imagine this news will accelerate their plans to bring capacity online in the near term," DeMaio said.

Graphex plans to open a graphite processing facility in Warren, Michigan, by the end of 2024 to supply US automakers with at least 10,000 metric tons per year of the key metal, reported Reuters.

Graphex aims to be a refiner in the West, not a miner. It has graphite supply deals with Syrah Resources and is looking for other sources, DeMaio said.

New investments in the US and Europe aim to challenge China's stranglehold on graphite with a focus on developing synthetic graphite, but industry experts have said the effort will be an uphill battle.

Synthetic graphite could account for nearly two-thirds of the EV battery anode market by 2025, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates.

However, China battery materials giants such as BTR and Shanshan are also investing hundreds of millions of dollars to produce more synthetic graphite. Vianode, an Oslo-based synthetic graphite startup, is starting small-scale production in Norway next year, ramping up to full scale in Europe and the US by 2030 with enough material to supply roughly 2 million EVs, according to the Reuters report.

(Li PP)

责编: 张未名
来源:爱集微 #supply chain# #graphite# #export control#
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