THUNDER BAY – Business Now – There is a not so quiet mining revolution happening in Northern Ontario. While much of the talk has been about chromite and the Ring of Fire, there are several companies reporting on finding graphite. Chromite is used in the manufacture of stainless steel. Graphite which has been around for a long time, as any golfer or pencil pusher will attest, has gained significant interest as scientists are discovering exciting new uses in the form of graphene which may make it the mineral of the future.
Are Graphite and Graphene going to be a ‘second’ Ring of Fire?
So what is making graphite so hot in the mining and scientific communities? Part of it is the developing technologies and potential. High value graphite flake is used to make the anodes for lithium-ion batteries. That has applications for electric cars, computer batteries, and power storage.
It is however Graphene which is generating some real buzz. Graphene was first discovered in 2004. In 2010 two scientists from the UK won the Nobel Peace Prize for their research into the uses of this new mineral.
Interviewed on graphite in The Gold Report, Simon Moores states, “It’s conductive; it’s a lubricant; it’s resistant to high temperatures and it’s a strong mineral. This means it doesn’t have just one major market; it has an abundance of markets and uses. It’s key to existing technologies that have been around for 100 years as well as new technologies, like lithium-ion batteries.
“But despite what many think, it’s not a niche industry. Rare earths and lithium are niche industries. Each year, 1.1 million tons (Mt) of graphite is produced. It’s bigger by volume than molybdenum, vanadium, cobalt, tungsten, rare earths and lithium combined. Graphite miners operate all around the world in Canada, Brazil, Europe, India and, of course, China, which accounts for 80% of production”.
That production figure showing China controlling the world supply of graphite is one of the reasons the mineral is becoming a hot mining prospect.
In Northwestern Ontario, Zenyatta Ventures has been expanding the company’s efforts to unveil just how large their graphite deposit really is on their Albany Project. The stock has been heating up over the past weeks. The stock appears to be one worth watching, it has been rising in price, and this week has set a new high for the year.
There are several graphite properties in Northwestern Ontario, I am not a mining expert, but doing a little research it could be suggested that the excitement over Graphite and Graphene could be louder than the chromite in the Ring of Fire.
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