HomeInternationalDemand for expandable graphite driven by building materials

Demand for expandable graphite driven by building materials

Graphex Mining has provided market commentary on expandable graphite and its use in flame retardants, particularly flame retardant building materials, following an industry and building materials conference held in Xingshan, Hubei Province, China.

The conference was attended by representatives of Graphex’s prospective JV partner CN Docking and the
keynote speaker was Jiang Yang, who is the group vice president of China National Building Materials (CN
Docking’s major shareholder), and is also the president of the China Building Materials Application Technology
Research Institute.

In his address, Jiang  stated that “China needs 40 million tons of fire retardant building materials per annum, which will contain 5% expandable graphite.”

In other words, 2 million tons of expandable graphite is required per annum.

To put this in context, it is estimated total global production of flake graphite in 2016 was around 860 000 tons and not all of this material is able to generate expandable graphite.

It is commonly understood that China’s coarse flake graphite reserves have largely diminished and supply is also under threat by environmental restrictions forcing mine closures.

“This scale of demand vastly exceeds all estimates we have previously received,” comments Graphex MD, Phil Hoskins.

“To put this level of demand in perspective, it is more than 10 times greater than existing natural resource demand from the lithium ion battery industry and most commodity analysts aren’t predicting battery product demand to reach this level until 2025-2030.

“The exciting part about the flame retardant market is it is not dependent on the rate of electric vehicle take-up, it
is here now.

“Another key differentiator is the potential value to producers – batteries require lower value fine flake product while flame retardants require higher value coarser flake product. As we have flagged in previous releases, we see significant upside to the basket price estimate used in the PFS (which was US$1,217/t).”

Feature image credit: Wikimedia