Charlotte McLeod reports that graphite is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and also has the highest strength of any natural material. However, it was not until recently that the metal began to gain popularity.
Interest in graphite is increasing in large part because lithium-ion batteries, which are used in everything from phones to modern vehicles, are becoming more and more common. Graphite is a key component of those batteries, and as their use increases, graphite production is only expected to rise.
On that note, it is interesting to look at which country is the largest producer of graphite. In 2015, China took the top spot by a wide margin, with India and Brazil coming in second and third, respectively. Here is a brief overview of graphite production in those countries and in the other top graphite-producing nations last year. All stats are based on the most recent graphite report from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Mine production: 780,000 MT
As mentioned, China is the largest graphite producer. In 2015, it put out 780,000 MT of the metal, the same amount it produced in 2014. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it accounted for 66% of world graphite production last year, and consumed 35%.
Despite China current stranglehold on the graphite market, investors should not necessarily expect the Asian dominance to continue forever. That is because in recent years the country has made an effort to streamline graphite production, with part of the process being to take polluting producers offline. While originally some were expected to come back online, weak graphite market conditions have hampered that process.
Mine production: 170,000 MT
India produced much less graphite than China in 2015, but is still the second-largest graphite producer. Its total output last year came to 170,000 MT, the same amount it put out in 2014.
The country graphite reserves vary widely from state to state.
Read on for the rest of the countries ..