Graphite is used as an anode material in the production of lithium-ion batteries due to its relatively low cost and energy density. Energy conservation is a major challenge in reducing CO2 emissions.
In the coming years, the demand for batteries and battery materials will increase significantly due to energy and e-mobility policies, which are driven by climate change. Some materials have been classified as critical to the European economy in terms of economic importance and the risk of supply disruptions. Natural graphite has been classified as critical in all three jurisdictions: Japan, the United States and Europe.
Ukraine’s graphite reserves are among the top five in the world. According to geological research, 6 main deposits have been identified, which contain reserves of about 18 million tons of natural graphite. In 2021, Ukraine exported more than 17,000 tons of graphite to world markets, making it the sixth largest producer in the world. Unfortunately, the war forced the suspension of the main mining enterprises. China is a leader in the supply of natural graphite, but also has faced disruptions in the supply of key minerals.
According to Baichuan Yingfu, as of the end of April, the price of a graphite electrode in the Chinese market has risen by 28.4% since the beginning of the year. This is due to rising operating costs and disruptions in the supply of graphite. European producers are already trying to bring supply of minerals closer from China, in order to increase the stability of supply chains. Given the localization of supply chains, Ukraine must become a leader producer of graphite in Europe after the war. This is important both for our manufacturing sector and for the world community on the path to sustainable development and the fight against climate change.