Tapping into potential graphite boom no easy task – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – July 12, 2017)


Any talk of electric vehicles draws intense response from readers, much of it positive, some of it smartly critical.

Here’s one. “Remember a Tesla battery contains about 150 lbs of graphite which is a product so toxic that it is only allowed to be mined in CHINA (where worker safety is of little importance).”

Yes, China produces the lion’s share of the world’s graphite, as key a component in the lithium-ion battery as the lithium itself. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, China produced 66 per cent of the world’s graphite in 2016. India was a distant second at about 14 per cent.

And serial reports out of China document the grey shroud settling on villages adjacent to graphite production. Last October, the Washington Post reported on five towns in two provinces of China where reporters heard the same story repeated from villagers living near graphite companies, as the glittering commodity drifted onto window sills, across clotheslines: “sparkling night air, damaged crops, homes and belongings covered in soot, polluted drinking water — and government officials inclined to look the other way to benefit a major employer.”

What has drawn little mention are the companies in Ontario trying to nose into the graphite market. Five years ago there was all this talk of a graphite boom in the province. Ontario Graphite Ltd. was one hopeful company, indicating to the Star that it planned to bring the out-of-commission graphite mine near Kearney back into production in September, 2012.

For the rest of this article: https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/07/11/tapping-into-potential-graphite-boom-no-easy-task-wells.html