Archive | Graphite Mining

Graphite’s sterling history in eastern Ontario – by Jen Glanville (CIM Magazine – December 20, 2017)

A successful Ontario graphite mine is forever submerged under Black Donald Lake

Before the 1867 construction of the road that led deep into the Black Donald Mountains, located about 120 kilometres west of Ottawa, the untamed region was considered wild by settler society. Eventually the growth of immigrant populations in the Ottawa area forced a westward expansion of Opeongo Road and soon Irish, Poles and Germans settled the region.

John Moore was one of the first European settlers of the mountainous frontier. He was offered a plot of land near Whitefish Lake. One day in 1889, while strolling on his property, he slipped on a rocky outcrop and made a life-changing discovery. A sampling of the brittle dark rock confirmed Moore had uncovered a graphite deposit.

Graphite was much needed in the industrialized 19th century. The mineral is heat-resistant, making it an ideal lubricant for motors and a good liner in crucibles containing molten steel. Continue Reading →

Beyond lithium — the search for a better battery – by Nic Fildes(Financial Times – January 7, 2018)

As the world’s power needs grow, the search is on for better battery technology — not just to keep smartphones charged for longer, but to run electric cars and to store energy produced by solar and wind power.

For the last 25 years, the lithium-ion battery, has held sway. Packing a large amount of energy into a relatively small space and weight, these are in greater demand than ever for mobile phones and electric cars. In fact, 2017 has been, in the words of HSBC’s Paul Bloxham, a nirvana for lithium.

The price of the commodity has been driven 240 per cent higher. Batteries accounted for 35 per cent of lithium use in 2015, up from 25 per cent in 2007, with electric vehicles, phones and personal computers accounting for 60 per cent of that market. Continue Reading →

Trump’s order on critical minerals could be a boon for juniors – by William Clarke (Industrial Minerals – January 5, 2018)

A drive to secure supplies of materials used in the defense sector offers opportunities for new miners, but obstacles with permitting must still be overcome.

Unites States President Donald Trump has called for an end to the country’s reliance on foreign sources of critical minerals, including battery materials and rare earths, in a move which could be boon to mining juniors.

The US should increase efforts to identify and exploit domestic resources of critical minerals, Trump said in an executive order signed on December 20, 2017. “It shall be the policy of the Federal government to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, which constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States,” the order said. Continue Reading →

The German Auto Industry’s Darkest Secrets – by Melanie Bergermann, Simon Book, Alexander Busch and Martin Seiwert (Handelsblatt Global – November 3, 2017)

German consumers purchasing a new electric car may be buying a few extras they didn’t reckon with – such as child labor, corruption and police brutality.

The young man shyly moves his T-shirt down over his belly, hiding the scars from the operation and the exit holes. His fellow South Africans call Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, “dead man walking” because he will never recover from the injuries he suffered when police opened fire on him and his fellow workers five years ago. Bullets tore into his stomach and his right arm no longer has any strength; nor can he walk properly anymore.

Mr. Magidiwana was one of the leaders of the 3,000 miners who went on strike on August 12, 2012 to protest poor working conditions and low pay at the Marikana platinum mine some 100 kilometers from Johannesburg in South Africa.

The workers were being paid just €400 ($464) per month for back breaking work. Below ground, they had to contend with constant accidents and dust that made them ill. Above ground, they were breathing the toxic fumes coming out of the platinum smelter. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicle ambitions spark race for raw materials – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – October 23, 2017)

Manufacturers are scrambling to seal long-term deals for supply of lithium, cobalt and nickel

As carmakers gear up to electrify their fleets, a new scramble for resources is under way to ensure there is enough raw material for a rapid expansion of battery production.

Electric car batteries rely on a host of materials — from lithium to nickel, cobalt and graphite — while some cars also use motors that require rare earths.

Prices have soared rapidly over the past year, with cobalt, a greyish metal mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, up more than 190 per cent over the past 18 months. Carmakers and battery producers are rushing to lock in supply agreements from mining companies for the metals as forecasts for consumer uptake of electric vehicles increase and governments launch policies to back a shift away from combustion engines. Continue Reading →

Mad About Madagascar’s Mining Potential – by Christopher Ecclestone ( – October 18, 2017)

With the eclipse of Tanzania as a mining destination the hunt is on for amenable jurisdictions in East Africa. In recent years the rising stars have been Mozambique and to a lesser extent, Madagascar.

The last month saw the full court press of the great and good of Madagascar descend upon London for a day of interaction with London investors in the energy and mining sectors. We attended in the company of NextSource Materials Inc. (TSX: NEXT | OTCQB: NSRC) (formerly Energizer Resources) which has a graphite project and a vanadium deposit in the country.

The event had a certain element of cloak and dagger to it with the location of an event only being released a few days before the event to the hundreds of people attending, somewhat like a house-rave in the 1980s. Continue Reading →

Finalists gather in the race for graphite production – by Christopher Ecclestone ( – October 11, 2017)

The “Big Beasts” of the Canadian mining scene are neither as evident nor as prominent as they used to be. Some have reconfigured their activities for the new reality of markets since 2011. One of the “Big Beasts” that temporarily disappeared from the scene and has now resurfaced is Sheldon Inwentash.

He is famed for his management of Pinetree Capital which, at its peak, commanded a market cap of over $1 billion and held a rather daunting 400 plus names in its portfolio. Pinetree Capital can be said to be the proto-mining hedge fund in the Canadian space and it revolutionized the resource investment model.

Pinetree veterans are spread across Toronto, churning out deals, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, and managing funds and mining companies themselves. In its heyday Pinetree was famous for having seeded companies such as Queenston Mining (acquired by Osisko Mining Corp. for $550mn), Aurelian Resources (acquired by Kinross for $1.2bn), and Gold Eagle Mines (acquired by Goldcorp for $1.5bn). Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles trigger search for lithium and cobalt – by Chris Tomlinson (Houston Chronicle – September 27, 2017)

Automakers this summer touted plans to offer more electric vehicles, with Mercedes-Benz announcing it will spend $1 billion to add a battery factory to its plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Ford is investing $4.5 billion in electric vehicle production, Volkswagen has promised 30 electrified models, and Volvo plans to go all electric or hybrid by 2019. Even Porsche will offer a battery-powered sports sedan called Mission E in 2020.

Automakers expect to sell 20 million all-electric vehicles in 2030, according to conservative estimates, prompting questions about where the raw materials will come from to make all of those batteries. Continue Reading →

The graphite fix: Inside China’s newest commodity addiction – by Manolo Serapio Jr and Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – September 21, 2017)

MANILA/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aggressive environmental protection campaign has tightened supplies of graphite electrodes used in steelmaking, boosting the fortunes of big producers like Fangda Carbon as mills search far and wide for a material now in short supply.

Beijing’s campaign for clearer skies has closed thousands of mills and mines producing low-quality steel and coal, and makers of electrodes, particularly those near big cities, have not been spared.

Graphite electrodes are used to melt scrap in electric arc furnaces to produce new steel. Their main ingredient is high-value needle coke – named because of its shape – which is made from either petroleum or coal tar. As China tightened the screws on polluting industrial plants, about 30 percent of its graphite electrode production capacity has been shut and some provinces have restricted output, said Dawn Brooks, a consultant at CRU. Continue Reading →

The battery revolution: balancing progress with supply chain risks (RCS Global – August 2017)


For the full report:

The lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is set to fuel a revolution in electric vehicles (EV), home energy storage and even the powering of entire cities. Yet, increasing demand for the Li-ion battery is revealing and amplifying a wide spectrum of risks associated with the materials that make up the battery itself.

As new battery technology transforms consumer markets, there is a growing realisation that the transition to electric is not without social and environmental impact in the countries where battery materials – specifically cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite and manganese – are mined and chemically processed into battery grade materials.

These risks present significant reputational, legal, compliance and commercial concerns for major industries harnessing the battery revolution including automotive, electronics and utilities infrastructure. For local communities, the risks represent impacts that could exacerbate or even cause environmental and social problems ranging from air pollution to child labour to conflict. Continue Reading →

Environmentalism: A Slippery Slope of Ignorance and Hypocrisy – by Saurabh Malkar (Modern Diplomacy – August 13, 2017)

Perusing through my morning news digest, I came across an article from The Daily Mail featuring a story on the employment of child labor in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

While I can be chillingly apathetic to social plight, especially, when it doesn’t concern my loved ones: something I impute to my upbringing in a third world country; I was deeply moved by this story, which shed light on the horrors of artisanal cobalt mining, employing children, working in dangerous conditions, with no safety measures, and being paid a pittance. The kicker, though, of this story was that much of this cobalt would go into battery packs that would be installed in electric cars marketed to gullible, do-gooders around the world.

But, why would one want to buy cars that take hours to refuel and can only be refueled at specific points, thus, imposing a massive time cost on their usage? These contraptions don’t match in utility to gasoline-powered cars, let alone surpassing them. No wonder governments around the world are trying to get consumers to buy electric cars through purchase subsidies and tax exemptions of all sorts. Continue Reading →

Electric-Car Revolution Shakes Up the Biggest Metals Markets – by Mark Burton and Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – August 2, 2017)

The revolution in electric vehicles set to upturn industries from energy to infrastructure is also creating winners and losers within the world’s biggest metals markets.

While some of the largest diversified miners like Glencore Plc argue fossil fuels such as coal and oil still play a crucial role supplying energy needs, they’ll also benefit the most from a move to electric cars, requiring more cobalt, lithium, copper, aluminum and nickel.

The outlook for greener transportation got a boost this year as the U.K. joined France and Norway in saying it would ban fossil-fuel car sales in coming decades. That’s as Volvo AB announced plans to abandon the combustion engine and Tesla Inc. unveiled its latest, cheaper Model 3. Such vehicles will outsell their petroleum-driven equivalents within two decades, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

Cost of Elon Musk’s Dream Much Higher Than He and Others Imagine – by Brian Rogers (Real Clear Energy – June 08, 2017)

Brian Rogers is the Executive Director of America Rising Squared (AR2) a conservative-based policy organization.

With Elon Musk protesting President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord by quitting a White House advisory council, and the new Model 3 rolling off the assembly line this summer, Tesla fans must be tempted to feel pretty good about themselves these days.

After all, the company’s stock price is hitting all-time highs as thousands join a two-year wait-list not only to drive Tesla’s latest vehicle, but to do something good for the planet!

But Tesla has a dirty little secret with big implications for its future. It’s what Greenpeace International co-founder Rex Weyler calls “The Tesla dream,” the false idea that Mr. Musk’s electric vehicles (EVs) are a true game-changing “clean energy” solution to global climate change. Continue Reading →

Albany graphite deposit “a freak of nature” – by Norm Tollinsky (Northern Ontario Business – April 6, 2017)

Aubrey Eveleigh describes the Albany graphite deposit in northeastern Ontario “as a real freak of nature.” “We never expected to find something like this,” he said. “I spent my entire career exploring for base metals and gold for the most part, so this is kind of new. I had never seen anything like this in my life. Neither did any geologist I knew.”

Eveleigh, president and CEO of Zenyatta Ventures, a junior miner based in Thunder Bay, was intrigued by a “whopping” electromagnetic conductor picked up by an airborne survey 30 kilometres north of the Trans Canada Highway near Constance Lake First Nation and Hearst.

“There’s no outcrop in this area, so there’s nothing on surface to suggest what this was. We thought it was massive sulphide until we drilled into it and intersected hundred of metres of graphite breccia. Continue Reading →