Australian graphite developer Kibaran Resources (ASX:KNL) has recently signed an agreement with Japanese trading giant Sojitz for the supply of graphite from its Epanko project in Tanzania.
According to the exclusive agreement, Kibaran will supply a minimum of 14,000t per year of natural flake graphite products from Tanzania to Sojitz over the next 5 years.
Sojitz will distribute the graphite into Japan, Korea and Taiwan to the lithium battery industry.
“The Sojitz agreement provides an avenue for long-term sales of Epanko graphite into the fast-growing lithium-ion battery markets of Japan and Korea,” Kibaran’s press release indicates.
Kibaran Managing Director Andrew Spinks said the company’s relationship with Sojitz would also provide a platform to increase production capacity at Epanko as market demand increases for battery grade graphite.
He added: “Graphite demand is forecast to treble on the back of the lithium battery demand and Kibaran’s relationship with Sojitz and the ability to expand Epanko’s capacity means it will be ideally positioned to capitalise on this opportunity.”
Tanzania Graphite Production
Tanzania’s largest graphite deposits are located in the central and east southern regions of the country.
At the end of 2015, The Tanzanian Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) announced that Tanzania will soon become one of the largest producers of graphite in the world, due to recent and abundant discoveries of graphite fields across the country.
In 2014, China was the largest producer of graphite with 780,000t, followed by India (170,000t), Brazil (80,000t), Canada, North Korea and Turkey with 30,000t, Russia (14,000t), Mexico (8,000t), Ukraine and Zimbabwe with 6,000t, Madagascar (5,000t), Sri Lanka (4,000t), Norway (2,000t) and other countries (1,000t).
Graphite discoveries in Tanzania come mainly from Magnis Resources Limited (ASX:MNS), Mozambi Resources (ASX:MOZ) and Kibaran Resources Limited (ASX:KNL).
Kibaran’s primary focus is on the Epanko graphite project in south-east Tanzania which will be capable of producing 44,000t a year of flake graphite concentrate.
Kibaran already has binding agreements for 30,000t of graphite per year including 20,000t with German company ThyssenKrupp and 10,000t with European graphite trader.
“Kibaran is now studying the potential to increase Epanko’s production capacity based on forecast growth in lithium battery demand,” Spinks said.