Benchmark Minerals Week: Graphite+Anodes Notes from the Floor

This year’s Graphite+Anodes event, held as part of Benchmark Minerals Week, is now done, and for the Investing News Network it was a busy one.

There was no shortage of industry experts and company CEOs to talk to, and of course there were presentations and panels to take in as well.

If you weren’t able to make it to the event, which ran from October 22 to 23, don’t worry — here’s a quick look at the main highlights of the show. Scroll on to read more about what happened on the floor, and stay tuned for our upcoming written and audio coverage.

Graphite+Anodes 2018: Day 1

Day one kicked off with a presentation about the state of the graphite market by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Senior Analyst Andrew Miller. Some of the discussion points he covered were the need for supply diversification, the debate between natural and synthetic graphite selection and what could happen if new anode battery technology is adopted.

Another morning highlight was a keynote presentation from one of the world’s largest natural graphite anode producers in the market, BTR New Energy Materials. The talk focused on what might be the anode choice for manufacturers in the future.

To wrap up the first session of the day, Dr. Saad Hasan, advanced technology engineer at General Motors (NYSE:GM), discussed the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic and natural graphite as part of his presentation on the era of the lithium-ion battery.

After a short networking break, session two started with a keynote presentation by one of the world’s leading silicon anode producers, Shanghai Shanshan Technology. The company’s director of technology, Yongmin Qiao, shared his insight on synthetic graphite and anode materials in China.

One of the most-awaited presentations of the conference was from Shaun Verner, CEO of Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), which is ramping up the largest natural flake graphite project in the world. He started by addressing the current state of the Balama operation and then moved on to the company’s strategy to supply the market, which remains the big question for many junior miners.

After that, Wei Liu, president of BAIC Motors-Heilongjiang Pride New Material Technology, talked about his company and development trends in China’s new energy automobile industry.

Imerys was also present at the Graphite+Anodes conference, with Fabrizio Corti, business director, giving a presentation on the battery supply chain and its impacts on the graphite world.

In the afternoon, Sam Jaffe, managing director of Cairn ERA, shared his forecast on the battery market, from lithium ion in electric cars to energy storage.

During session three, many companies exploring and developing projects around the world had a chance to share their milestones, including: Bass Metals (ASX:BSM), Battery Minerals (ASX:BAT) and Northern Graphite (TSXV:NGC).

To close the day, Albert Li, China analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, shared insight on the state of the anode supply chain in the Asian country.

Graphite+Anodes 2018: Day 2

Day two of Graphite+Anodes kicked off with a presentation from Australia-listed Talga Resources (ASX:TLG).

Session four, which focused on the technical side, continued with Richard Clark of Morgan Advanced Materials. Clark talked about the impact of anode demand in traditional markets compared to emerging markets.

To wrap up the session, Dr. Joseph Li of Superior Graphite touched again on the subject of anode material selection.

Andy Leyland, head of forecasting at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, started off session five with his outlook for graphite from 2018 to 2040.

During the afternoon, more companies were able to share about their projects, including: Hexagon Resources (ASX:HXG), Kibaran Resources (ASX:KNL) and Westwater Resources (NASDAQ:WWR).

The last session of the conference focused on alternative anode technologies and started with David Deak, formerly of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Lithium Americas (NYSE:LAC,TSX:LAC), talking about what the future could look like for anode technology.

Deak’s presentation was followed by Craig Weich of Sila Technologies, who shared his insight on silicon anodes, and then Doug Campbell of Solid Power, who talked about solid-state batteries and lithium anodes.

Before the end of the event, attendees had the chance to hear more about lithium metal anodes from Mark Cooksey of CSIRO and about next-generation graphite-based anodes from Dr. Sanshiro Nagare of NARA Machinery group.

The Investing News Network was busy during the two-day event, conducting interviews with companies and experts, including: Syrah Resources, Stephen Riddle of Asbury Carbons, Bass Metals and Solid Power, among many others. Interviews will be posted over the next week or so, so stay tuned!

You can also click here to read our overview of the Graphite+Anodes component of Benchmark Minerals Week.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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