Western Australian graphite explorer Triton Minerals has secured a binding sales agreement for product from its Ancuabe operation in Mozambique, formalising arrangements with a prominent Chinese processor and distributor.
Triton announced to the ASX this week that it would sell up to 16,000 tonnes per year of graphite concentrate to its offtake partner, Qingdao Tianshengda Graphite Co, formalising arrangements first discussed earlier this year.
Prices for the concentrate will be set by prevailing market prices in China, set every six months.
Interest in the graphite sector has been rising steadily in recent years, with the material having a wide range of industrial applications, including in brake linings, lubricants and moulds in foundries.
It is also a key component in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, which power everything from personal electronics to automobiles, and have growing applications in large-scale power storage.
Tianshengda is one of China’s leading players in graphite processing, with an annual capacity of between 30,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes of value-added graphite products including expandable graphite, flake graphite and graphite powder.
Triton managing director Peter Canterbury said the formalisation of the deal, which has an initial period of five years and a seller option to extend for another five, is a significant milestone for Triton, which is aiming for first production at Ancuabe towards the end of next year.
“Securing this binding agreement and becoming part of the supply chain for Tianshengda illustrates the strong demand for premium graphite concentrate, growth of the expandable graphite market in China, and vision of Chinese graphite producers to diversify their supply base in response to domestic shortages and legislative changes,” Mr Canterbury said in a statement to the ASX.
“The offtake agreement also assists Triton to accelerate other development objectives – including engineering, procurement and construction, approvals and project finance – with the confidence of secured offtake and favourable graphite pricing.”
The agreement remains subject to Triton making a final investment decision for Ancuabe, relevant approvals and completion of construction of the mine and infrastructure.