(2015-05-15) The Australian mining company Triton Minerals on Thursday announced that it has entered into two binding joint venture agreements with Chinese graphite products specialist Yichang Xincheng Graphite (YXGC) to develop and produce graphite enhanced products in Mozambique and China.
The raw material for the products will be from Triton’s graphite deposits in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
The Mozambican joint venture is seventy per cent owned by Triton. It will focus on producing premium goods such as expanded graphite, flexible graphite sheet and refined battery grade graphite.
Meanwhile, the China based joint venture, which is 49 per cent owned by Triton, will focus on producing high strength graphite composite sheets.
In early April, Triton entered into an agreement with Yichang Xincheng Graphite worth at least two billion US dollars. Under the agreement, it will supply the Chinese company with an average of 100,000 tonnes of graphite per year over a twenty year period at a minimum price of a thousand US dollars per tonne.
However, today’s agreement marks a new strategy of adding value to the graphite in Mozambique. For example, Triton has previously explained that, subject to quality, expanded graphite sells for up to 3,500 dollars per tonne.
In today’s press release, Triton explained that “Yichang Xincheng Graphite is a major producer of graphite products and operates some of the most advanced graphite processing equipment in the world with professional management and superior production systems including graphite air-flow classification equipment, super-minute crushing equipment and flexible graphite sheets and rolls production line”.
Triton’s managing director, Brad Boyle, stated that the company “is now planning to be directly involved in the production of very high value enhanced graphite products that will supply the electronics, technology and energy storage sectors, to name but a few, for future generations”.
The Mozambique joint venture will be located near the northern cities of Pemba or Nacala. It is estimated that the factory will produce 30 million dollars of revenue per year.
The China joint venture will set up a factory in the Xingshan region of China with between 400 and 500 employees. It will use power from a local hydroelectric power station. The new facility will require 160,000 tonnes of graphite per year, which is in addition to the existing contract between the two companies for 100,000 tonnes annually. It is estimated that this facility will create 200 million dollars of revenue per year.
Graphite is a form of carbon that is highly valued due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and is the basis for the “miracle material” graphene, which is the strongest material ever measured, with vast potential for use in the electronics industries.
It is also used for flame retardants, thermal conductivity additives and sealing materials in high pressure environments.
Triton has not yet begun mining in Mozambique. At the end of April it entered into an agreement under which it will receive up to 200 million US dollars to develop a 200,000 tonnes per year mine at Nicanda Hill. The funds will come from the Chinese company Shenzhen Qianhai Zhongjin through 100 million dollars in direct equity in Triton and the rest through a debt facility.
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