Graphite

WA graphite player mints R&D MoU with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Wed 18 May 22, 3:31pm (AEST)
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Key Points

  • Mineral Commodities has entered into a 2-phase MoU with Mitsubishi’s chemical division (MCC) to advance anode products
  • Both companies seeking to incorporate ESG outcomes in manufacturing process
  • MRC to reach FID on Norwegian anode plant by September, initial works will refine MCC products

WA-based Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC), which owns a graphite mine off the coast of Norway in the Skaland area, has today enjoyed a jump in price of over 15% to 12.5cps as the company announces a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC). 

The MoU sees Mineral Commodities and MCC teaming up to collaborate on the production of graphitic anode materials supply through Europe intended for sale into the EV battery market. 

Graphite anodes are required in EV batteries to ultimately ensure long battery lives and the reliable function of conductive flow through the batteries.

Graphite is a key battery metal with major analyst houses all noting in the mid 2010s global graphite demand is forecasted to rise through the 2020s and 2030s. 

EV1 Presentation for Graphite
A graph outlining forecast graphite demand to 2050

Graphite a key battery metal currently dwarfed by lithium

Mitsubishi’s MCC claims to be one of few international players capable of providing both the materials and downstream capacity to produce high-purity graphite able to be converted into anode material. 

The MoU represents a significant commercial partnership for Mineral Commodities which, if successful, will provide the company a competitive advantage in the graphite space.

Graphite is, compared to lithium, a more stubborn battery metal in terms of market momentum, but the necessity of its inclusion in EV batteries (and battery storage systems) is unlikely to be replaced in the near future. 

Demand for graphite is expected to grow increasingly robust as electrification and decarbonisation initiatives continue to roll out around the world. 

MoU to start off with MCC supplied graphite ahead of Skaland 

Under Phase 1 of the MoU, Mineral Commodities will construct and operate an anode manufacturing plant in Norway to toll treat graphite material supplied by MCC. 

Phase 2 is set to enact a broader business collaboration to market the anode products in Europe using Mineral Commodities' own purified graphite. 

The company has already procured engineering design for the anode plant and Final Investment Decision (FID) is expected before September 2022. 

As part of the MoU, MCC will introduce to the anode products chemical coatings that will ultimately reflect a lower carbon emissions footprint for the manufacturing process where compared to conventional pitch coatings, the company states. 

Mineral Commodities is seeking, in turn, to advance its approach to graphite anode production which comes without the use of hydrofluoric acid, ultimately boosting ESG credentials.

Mineral Commodities' three month chart compared to the materials index
Mineral Commodities' three month chart compared to the materials index

 

Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Journalist

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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