Mozambique, as well as being a worldwide coal producer, is to establish itself as a major exporter of graphite, and in China has found a preferential market for this mineral. A recent analysis of samples collected in Mozambique by Australia’s Triton Minerals concluded that the graphite concentrate can be used to manufacture batteries, specialty products, steel and refractories, lubricants for the automotive and electrical sector and other products.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the latest developments in graphite mining in Mozambique show the country “has the potential to emerge as a major global producer” of this raw material, “thanks to abundant reserves and low mining costs.”
These factors make it possible to “take advantage of the growing demand for this mineral,” the EIU added.
The findings aroused the interest of several Chinese companies, including China Aluminium International Engineering Corp Ltd (Chalieco), which recently sealed a deal to buy a third of the production of Syrah Resources.
The agreement provides that Chalieco buy at least 80 tons per year over three years from the Australian company, which can now more easily secure funding to develop the mine.
Triton Minerals recently signed a contract with Yichang Xincheng Graphite Co., Ltd. (YXGC) for the supply of graphite extracted in Mozambique, with a duration of 20 years and a minimum value of US$2 billion.
Stressing that YXGC is currently “China’s largest private producer of high value graphite products,” the company’s chairman, Yue Bin, noted the quality of graphite extracted in Mozambique, which is higher than initially expected, and that the agreement will facilitate procurement of this raw material at “competitive prices” and “indirectly help the economic growth of Mozambique.”
Headquartered in the region of Yichang, Hubei Province, YXGC develops products for various industries such as oil, chemical, metallurgy, machinery, automotive, aerospace, among others, acting in the Chinese market and in more than 20 countries.
In Mozambique, Triton Minerals owns the rights to exploration of three graphite and vanadium concessions in the province of Cabo Delgado, in the north, and the Balama Norte concession, where monte Nicanda is located, is a priority area for the launch of operating activities.
The EIU estimates that Nicanda may contain the world’s largest graphite reserves and Triton “is assessing its options for the development of these deposits alone or in partnership.
If the four graphite production projects announced since February are all launched, Mozambique will become a leading global producer of graphite.
Although the development of the coal industry is on a larger scale, says the EIU, graphite “may in the long run contribute to a more diversified mining sector, while becoming a significant generator of government revenues and exports.”
The developments in mining and, in particular, investment in the mining sector, support projections of “robust economic growth” between 2015 and 2019, at an annual average of 7.4 percent. (macauhub/CN/MZ)