London — The Australian mining company Battery Minerals on Thursday announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a leading US graphite company, Urbix, to establish a joint venture for its graphite mine in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
According to a statement from the company, the agreement with Urbix lays the foundation for developing an environmentally friendly graphite purification facility in Mozambique. The factory would purify graphite mined at the company's Montepuez graphite project using Urbix's proprietary technology and system.
Battery Minerals' Managing Director Jeremy Sinclair argued that "there is overwhelming evidence that the demand for graphite is going to soar as the take-up of lithium batteries gains speed."
He added that "the proposed processing joint venture with Urbix is aimed at ensuring we are well-positioned to capitalise on the demand for not only graphite concentrate but also the higher-margin processed product which is essential to the battery manufacturers."
In addition, Battery Minerals announced that it is looking at options to bring in contractors for both mining operations and the provision of electricity with a view to reducing the company's capital expenditure. It believes that switching from an owner-operator model to a contracting model could reduce the Montepuez project's funding requirement by up to six million US dollars. Sinclair commented that "we believe there is excellent potential to reduce the cost of developing Montepuez through a partnership approach with contractors".
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.