A Look into the Graphite Industry and Its Expected Future Trends
Graphite may be classified into two primary groups: naturally occurring graphite and synthetic graphite. Each class of graphite is broadly used, especially in the steel industry. Some companies prefer to engage in the mining and extraction of natural graphite, while others focus on its synthetic form.
The mining industry has continued to adopt environmentally friendly production practices. That has led to a decrease in the number of graphite-producing plants. The result is an upward trend in graphite prices. Currently, there is a shortage in the supply of graphite. This provides an opportunity for existing plants to expand their operations. It also provides an unclaimed market segment that new entrants may acquire upon entering the graphite industry.
Advancements in technology
As with every mining activity, a lot of resources continue to be invested in graphite research. It is done with the aim of continuously improving the efficiency of the production process. Significant grounds have already been covered in relation to developing technologies that guarantee lower mining costs with better graphite recovery. A lot of consideration has also been put into improving the safety of miners. Such advancements have made the graphite industry more lucrative.
The use of graphite depends on its method of production. Naturally occurring graphite possesses unique qualities. An example is the ease with which adjacent layers slide over each other. That makes it suitable for use in pencils, refractories, brake linings, and lubricants. On the other hand, synthetic graphite is widely used to make electrodes that are used in steel furnaces. They are also used as a neutron moderator in a majority of nuclear reactors.
Steel remains to be the most widely used metal. Its position remains solidified because it is lightweight, yet it offers significant mechanical strength. However, graphite is a necessity in the production of steel. Therefore, its relevance and applicability remain unchallenged.