A world that runs entirely on green energy will fuel a green economy, spur social development, ensure environment protection and make the planet cleaner. Most importantly, it would be largely instrumental in curbing the impact of climate change and its consequences for humans and nature.
With the green energy revolution kicking in, the demand for certain metals and minerals is expected to rise dramatically under a 100 percent renewable energy scenario, that would require new primary and recycled sources. The so-called clean technologies utilise different minerals, primarily including nickel, lithium, cobalt, copper, aluminium, graphite, silver and rare earths.
Renewable energy, once highly expensive, has now become quite affordable, especially in sunnier and windier parts of the world, where an increasing number of companies are conducting R&D on related technologies. The price of solar cells, for instance, has declined in the past couple of years, enabling states like California to be a role model for climate policy at the state level to substantially increase investment in that technology. Green energy may be considered as a subclass of renewable energy and constitutes those sources of renewable energy that offer the maximum environmental advantage.
One mineral exploration and development company targeting short term production of graphite is Volt Resources Limited (ASX: VRC) currently advancing preliminary works and studies at its flagship property, the Bunyu Graphite Project (100%-owned) located in Tanzania.
The project boasts of an ideal location with conducive infrastructure like sealed road network and deep-water port of Mtwara in proximity. Environmental and mining licenses have already been secured while the project Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) was completed in December 2016, outlining a two-staged development of Bunyu Project, presenting a convincing technical and financial investment case.
Later, the company delivered a Feasibility Study (FS) into the Bunyu Project Stage 1 development in July 2018 with the main objective of the first stage being building the foundational infrastructure and establishing a strong market presence, that would pave way for the comparatively larger-scale Stage 2 expansion project, after deriving insights from the observed market appetite for the Bunyu graphite products.
Volt Resources is currently progressing the funding activities for Stage 1 that has a targeted funding of USD 40 million, including USD 31.8 million in development cost and USD 3.5 million of resettlement compensation.
A number of binding and non-binding offtake agreements have been signed while the company’s main focus remains on winding up financing to kickstart Stage 1 development of Bunyu as soon as possible. Volt Resources has indicated that production from Stage 1 is expected to start by Q3 2020 and by the second half of 2020 (H2 2020), cash-flows are expected to be generated.
Graphite Applications: The demand for graphite is particularly being propelled by the influx of electric vehicles (EV) and the inception of the utility storage market worldwide. Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), a key component of EVs, use graphite as anode material and require 7-10 times more graphite than lithium. As per the Price Reporting Agency, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, graphite demand in this application is expected to rise over 200% in the next 4 years.
Advocates of EVs have long held that alarming air pollution levels in major cities around the world builds a strong case for “Green” Electric Vehicles as they are an environment-friendly alternative to carbon-emitting vehicular fuels such as petrol and diesel, that are proving to be extremely hazardous to the environment.
Companies in the manufacturing world are chasing graphite as a paramount ingredient due to its high melting point, reaction to extreme temperatures, high electrical and thermal conductivity as well as the flexibility to be engineered in a specific way. It is also used in many sealing products, while major evidence of graphite demand can be found in the steel industry, referring to the metallurgical applications, expandables, refractories and foundries etc.
This makes Volt Resources a part of the green energy revolution as it aims to cater to the evolving applications of graphite helping to build a sustainable future for all.
Stock Performance: Volt Resources’ market cap is ~$17.75 million. On 6 December 2019, the VRC stock settled the day’s trading session at AUD 0.011 with ~ 3.85 million shares traded. VRC has delivered a positive return of 0.65% in the last one month.
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