Trump Could Send Graphite Prices Surging
A trade war of the likes not seen for nearly 100 years is igniting the world over. To deal with this deglobalization strategy led by America, as investors, we must find out what commodities consumers, companies and countries cannot go without. What are the ‘must-haves’ and are strategically necessary for a country like America or China, or even the EU?
In other words, what raw materials, commodities or products will consumers pay more for (potentially via tariffs); and, which ones will only be bought domestically?
Few products tap into that invaluable product category like electric vehicles. They give consumers prestige and a socially-conscious reputation when driving. Moreover, the more electric vehicles on the road in a given country, the higher international praise a government receives. From China to the U.S. and Canada, consumers and governments are buying electric vehicles like never before.
So, the pragmatic investor has to ask: What are electric vehicles made of? Specifically, what commodities?
There are a select few commodities in electric vehicles that will be VERY hard to source as demand scales up…
Lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, impact-resistant recyclable composite plastic, metal anodes and cathodes are critical components to EVs. Nickel is not very expensive and easily sourced around the world. So scratch that commodity.
That leaves three commodities of interest: lithium, graphite and cobalt. All of these metals are strategic and have seen significant price increases over the past decade.
Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, famously said in 2016,
“Our cells should be called Nickel-Graphite, because primarily the cathode is nickel and the anode side is graphite with silicon oxide… [there’s] a little bit of lithium in there, but it’s like the salt on the salad.”
While some speculate he made the comments to ward off a supply crisis for lithium, graphite makes up a large portion of electric vehicle batteries. Despite this fact, it receives far less press than lithium. What’s more, and this is where we see a supply crunch coming from, two thirds of all graphite is mined in China, which hasn’t been a potential threat for American EV producers until now. Until Trump…
Remember what happened to rare earths in 2010-2011 when China and Japan escalated aggressive rhetoric toward each other over disputed water territory? World governments went into panic mode because it became common knowledge China controlled roughly 96% of rare earth production; a bitter fact for Japan and other high tech manufacturing nations reliant on China for rare earths…
Rare earth prices went parabolic, as did share prices of companies exploring for the commodities.
History has a way of repeating itself, and China is in a favourable position when it comes to graphite production. But this time, China won’t just be tightening supply for geopolitical purposes. It will be about its own self-preservation…
In 2017, countless headlines warned of China curbing graphite exports amidst a crackdown on poor environmental practices and rising domestic demand for graphite electrodes. The steel industry, not electric cars, is where most graphite production is inevitably used.
Graphite conducts electricity. So, graphite electrodes are perfect for carrying electricity used to melt scrap iron and steel. They are necessary for the smelting process to manufacture high-quality steel. As demand for steel in construction, oil & gas, and automotive industries increase, so will demand for graphite electrodes. While the world used to source the vast majority of its graphite for graphite electrodes from China, those days may be ending.
“…the real supply squeeze of exports from China is likely to kickstart in 2018 and haunt the steelmakers around the world.
We forecast that Chinese Graphite Electrode consumption will rise rapidly on the growing importance of scrap in the country, and a push by the govt. to curb pollution…”
China will not be the world’s supplier of graphite much longer. From our perspective, this is bullish for graphite prices, explorers that make discoveries and producers.
The New Demand Side Driver
Remember, there is more graphite in lithium-ion batteries, which is powering the EV revolution, than lithium.
According to Inside EVs, in 2017, approximately 1.22 million plug-in cars were sold globally (up 58% year-over-year). In December of 2017, plug-in electric cars put up a new monthly record of around 173,000 sales (up 67% year-over-year), according to Inside EVs.
Comparatively, global car sales were up just 2.4% in 2017. Being still very early in their adoption curve, EV sales are exploding, and there is plenty of run room, and many years of growth, ahead. It is anticipated EVs will rapidly take significant market share from gas engine vehicles starting at the end of this decade. Nissan Motor Co., for example, announced plans to sell 1 million electric vehicles annually by 2022 back in March of this year. A year ago, Volvo announced all its car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids…
Considering EVs have less than 2% market penetration (roughly 1.22 million plug-in vehicles sold last year of 86 million global car sales) we have a market poised for exceptional growth in the coming years, projected double-digit growth in fact. Orbit Research stated earlier this year that it anticipates a CAGR Of 20.79% during the period 2018-2022. To facilitate this growth, gigafactories will need to be built across the world, providing access to all major economies.
The name Gigafactory comes from the word “Giga,” the unit of measurement representing “billions.”
According to Tesla,
“To achieve its planned production rate of 500,000 cars per year by 2018, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide supply of lithium-ion batteries”
For graphite and lithium investors, this is big news. And that is just in Nevada. At one gigafactory. What if ten gigafactories were coming online all over the world? What if exported graphite from China and other countries was needed for not only graphite electrodes in steel making, but in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to serve domestic markets?
In the first half of 2017, plans for at least 10 new gigafactory plants were revealed.
In 10 Battery Gigafactories Are Now in the Works. And Elon Musk May Add 4 More, the global tide of new gigafactories hits home,
“In Germany, for example, the Daimler subsidiary Accumotive laid the foundation for a $550 million plant designed to take annual lithium-ion battery production from its current level of 80,000 units up to around 320,000.”
“And Energy Absolute, of Thailand, reportedly has plans for a $2.9 billion factory in Asia, with an annual production capacity of 1 gigawatt-hour per year, scaling to 50 gigawatt-hours a year by 2020.”
“Tesla’s Elon Musk has said he will announce “probably four” new gigafactories this year. One has long been slated for Europe, and another has been confirmed to be in the works in Shanghai, China.”
“Overall, Bloomberg reports that global battery-making capacity is set to more than double by 2021, topping 278 gigawatt-hours a year compared to 103 gigawatt-hours at present.”
While not all of these new plants will focus on lithium-ion batteries, the majority will.
A Boom in Graphite Demand is Coming | Who is Prepared?
One only has to look at the baby boomers retiring to know demand for extended care/assisted living will skyrocket in the years to come. The same is true for raw materials necessary to fuel gigafactories. Consider this from portfolio strategist Matt Bohlsen,
“Graphite is the main material used in the anode of lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles [EVs] and energy storage. Around 55kgs of natural graphite is used in a 50kWh EV battery. My model suggests that natural graphite used in EVs is currently ~13% of the market, but can grow to ~30% of the market by 2020 if electric cars reach 6% market share. My model has accurately forecast the lithium and cobalt booms, and right now graphite is the number 3 in demand metal (along with NdPr) based on my model, suggesting the graphite boom is just starting now.”
We strongly believe EVs will realize 6% market share within six to seven years. What happens to the price of graphite if the EV market reaches, say, 20%?
While North America is a relatively affluent continent, and provides big upside for the EV market, the potential for massive sector growth is in Asia. With an exploding middle class and ten times the population of North America, those who can get to market first with a cost effective EV offering will win big…
In our search to identify and work with a potential near to medium-term graphite producer to serve the Asian markets, we found Ceylon Graphite (CYL: TSXV)…
Ceylon Graphite is a client of ours, and the company is currently exploring and developing graphite mines in historic resource jurisdictions in Sri Lanka. Not coincidentally, Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon when it was under British rule. The country is a proven graphite producer with the *grids Ceylon Graphite now controls having previous historical production dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s. Sri Lanka is favorably located below India and within easy shipping distance of all major ports in China. At one point near the turn of the 19th century, the country produced roughly half the world’s graphite using, as you can imagine, antiquated mining practices not capable of producing in an efficient manner.
*Ceylon Graphite, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, has 121 exploration licenses for its grids in Sri Lanka. It is not the land owner for these grids, but has the exclusive mineral rights to them – giving them the right to conduct exploration and mine under the surface.
Ceylon Graphite – An Award Winning Company
On April 5th, Ceylon Graphite announced it was named Asia Pacific Exploration Mining Company of the Year for 2018 by Mines and Money at their conference in Hong Kong. Ceylon beat out a noteworthy shortlist of nominees which included Novo Resources (NVO: TSXV). Novo’s market cap skyrocketed to a peak of over $1 billion in 2017.
Following the award, Bharat Parashar, CEO of Ceylon, stated,
“It is recognition by the mining community of the Company’s efforts to develop our mining properties at an accelerated pace and with the lowest cost.”
What’s notable is that Ceylon’s CEO and one of its founders have a proven track-record of success in South Asia and Sri Lanka respectively.
According to the company, the exploration grids mentioned above represent the majority of known historic graphite resources in Sri Lanka. The company also boasts that Sri Lanka is home to the purest graphite in the world. Click here for further details.
A Strategic Investor…
Since it began trading in 2017, Ceylon has traded as low as CDN$0.14 and to a high of CDN$0.45. It last traded for CDN$0.17 on Friday, June 22nd, giving it a market cap of roughly CDN$10 million.
A month ago to the day, Ceylon Graphite raised, by way of a non-brokered private placement offering of units, at a purchase price of CDN$1.00 per Unit, aggregate gross proceeds of CDN$2 million. The offering was led by a strategic investment from Mr. Sasha Jacob.
We had the opportunity of meeting with Sasha recently and were extremely impressed by his business acumen and overall level of knowledge when it came to various government bodies and doing business in this part of the world. We will explain why in a moment… First, let’s review some of the details of the recent financing he participated in:
The company reported in respect to this recent financing,
“Each Unit will be comprised of CDN$1.00 in principal amount of convertible debentures and two common share purchase warrants.”
“The principal amount of the Convertible Debentures will be convertible at the holder’s option into fully-paid common shares in the capital of the Company at any time prior to Maturity in three years, at a conversion price of CDN$0.25 per share. This is a premium of 25% to the current share price of CDN$0.20.”
Click here to read the full details of the financing press release.
Ceylon last traded at CDN$0.17. The 25% premium is now closer to 35%. From investing in and researching dozens of deals throughout our careers, it is rare to have the opportunity to invest at a lower valuation than a recent investment from a company founder.
So, who is Mr. Sasha Jacob?
Ceylon described him as “…one of Canada’s rising investor entrepreneurs who has a track record of spotting emerging sectors and game changing businesses to invest in early and nurture to maturity. He has done this successfully in the Renewable Energy and Cannabis sectors, where he was the first financier in Canada. In these sectors he has managed financial transactions valued at almost $10 billion.”
Ceylon has a market cap of around CDN$10 million today.
Looking more closely into Mr. Jacob’s background and current focus, he is the Chairman & CEO of Jacob Capital Management. Jacob Capital is an independent financial advisory firm focused on the renewable power and energy sectors.
Mr. Jacob brings 20 years of experience in the power sector, including founding and leading the power and infrastructure practice at a leading Canadian investment bank. He also spent several years in senior political positions as Special Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Energy. He has managed over 100 transactions in the renewable sector, and has participated in renewable financings valued at more than $7 billion. Also, he was recognized by Institutional Investor as one of the “5 Most Influential Emerging Players in Renewable Energy” globally.
Looking down Mr. Jacob’s long list of accomplishments, he was the Co-Founder of the largest hydro developer in Sri Lanka. Mr. Jacob knows how things work in Sri Lanka and has had a very successful exit in the country. On Jacob Capital’s website, he also notes that he is the Founder of Ceylon Graphite (CYL: TSXV), “responsible for reviving the graphite industry in Sri Lanka.”
Toronto’s Mayor Visits Ceylon in 2017
In March of last year, Ceylon hosted Toronto’s Mayor, His Worship John Tory along with several Canadian government representatives to celebrate the commencement of Ceylon Graphite operations in Sri Lanka. The company reported,
“The reception will also acknowledge the history of significant investment in Sri Lanka by Ceylon founder, Toronto-based Sasha Jacob and Jacob Capital Management Inc., as well as the revitalization of global demand for pure vein graphite through his efforts. The honoured guests will then travel to the company’s first priority historic mine site to cut the ribbon symbolizing the restart of commercial operations of Sri Lanka historic graphite sites.”
Ceylon | A Junior Targeting Production
Ceylon has consolidated a land package constituting 121 km² grids containing historic vein graphite deposits.
“These unique and comparatively higher margin vein (lump) deposits currently make-up less than 1% of the world graphite production. These exploration grids represent the majority of known historic graphite resources in Sri Lanka. The relevant areas in which these grids reside have previously had historical production dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s.”
The company has made some bold goals regarding future production that we will get into shortly…
Ceylon’s co-founder, Mr. Jacob is not the company’s only noteworthy name. The company’s President and CEO has an impressive financial career spanning almost four decades.
Mr. Bharat Parashar is the former Managing Director and Co-Head of Salomon Smith Barney’s Investment Banking business in South and South East Asia. He has 36 years of Investment and Corporate Banking experience in Asia, including Chief Executive for American Express Bank in India and Head of Chemical Bank’s Investment Banking business in Asia (ex-Japan). He has executed numerous debt and equity transactions, raising over US$8 billion for regional corporations and governments.
Mr. Parashar sat down for an interview with the Midas Letter in December of 2017. He gave the host somewhat of an elevator pitch with respect to his company, and the graphite sector as a whole. When asked if a NI 43-101 would be forthcoming, he responded that,
“We are never going to theoretically ever go to the typical Canadian, western standard 43-101 resource base. Because rather than have one mega mine, in all probability, we could have 121 mines or more. Because on some of our grids we have more than one shaft. Now, each shaft will eventually be a mine in itself if we find graphite in the bottom. And we think we can do maybe 300 tons a month each shaft, initially.”
“We are maybe the quickest to production that there is on the market today. So, I talked about K1 at about a 110 feet, theoretically, in a few days, I’ll be at the bottom of my shaft and if I see a vein I can start digging it out and selling.”
Finally, he stated,
“Number two, the big issue is… I have maybe the lowest cost structure in the world for production. So we can get into [sic] a mine into production of graphite for less than a million bucks. And, our actual cost to production is a little less than $200 bucks a tonne. Today’s graphite price, my quality graphite, is close to $2,000 dollars. So, you can see what numbers I have. We’re looking at $50-$60 million dollars of top line in a relatively short period of time. So, we’re going to start growing.”
Click here to watch the entire video titled Ceylon Graphite CEO Bharat Parashar Talks About the Abundance Graphite in Sri Lanka.
In an April 12th press release, Ceylon outlined its next steps. Mr. Bharat Parashar stated,
“This new find of high quality graphite of significant size is just a continuation of our normal work process as we continue to increase our exploration activities underground. The next steps include: 1) the purchase of an underground drilling machine (in discussions with suppliers) 2) drilling along the veins to ascertain the quantum of resource available; and 3) completing the mining license application process. With the discovery of four reasonably large sized veins, we are now close to being a near-term graphite producer of some of the world’s purest naturally occurring graphite…”
Click here to read the entire press release.
Just this week we asked Chairman Bharat Parashar about plans to potentially build a plant at Ceylon’s project in Sri Lanka. He responded,
“We most definitely have plans to develop a plant in Sri Lanka to upgrade our graphite to battery grade. Our plans go one step further, we are discussing globally with battery manufacturers the possibility of a joint venture to manufacture anodes in Sri Lanka. As we all know, graphite is an integral part of an anode. Our comparative advantage will be that we will be upgrading graphite that is already 90%+ Cg.”
We chose today to introduce Ceylon Graphite for a few reasons, chief among them the fact its shares trade near their all-time low of CDN$0.14 (closed trading on Friday at CDN$0.17). However, recognize that we are biased in regard to Ceylon Graphite as the company is an advertiser client. Please take responsibility for practicing your own thorough and independent due diligence. Learn about the risks associated with investing in exploration companies of this nature. Pick your spots…
From our understanding, reaching production can be far less onerous in Sri Lanka, which has been producing graphite for over 100 years, than in more developed countries. We aren’t experts in graphite production in Canada, never mind Sri Lanka, but the combined business acumen of company co-founder Sasha Jacob and CEO Bharat Parashar, who have together been apart of transactions worth approximately $18 billion, bodes well for this tiny graphite explorer. Also, given the fact Mr. Sasha Jacob recently led a $2 million financing at a premium to today’s share price of CDN$0.17 leaves room to speculate on potential risk vs. reward.
We will be following Ceylon Graphite (CYL:TSXV) closely over the coming quarters as it works to advance toward a production scenario in the strategically located island nation of Sri Lanka.
All the best with your investments,
Ceylon Graphite Company Highlights
Ceylon Graphite Online Resources
Ceylon Graphite’s Corporate Presentation
Disclosure, Risks Involved and Information on Forward Looking Statements:
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THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. All statements in this report are to be checked and verified by the reader.
This report may contain technical or other inaccuracies, omissions, or typographical errors, for which Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc., owner of PinnacleDigest.com (“Pinnacle Digest”), assumes no responsibility. We cannot warrant the information contained in this report to be exhaustive, complete or sufficient.
Important: Our disclosure for this report on Ceylon Graphite Corp. applies to the date this report was released to our subscribers (June 23, 2018) and posted on our website. This disclaimer will never be updated, even if we buy or sell shares of Ceylon Graphite Corp.
In all cases, interested parties should conduct their own investigation and analysis of Ceylon Graphite Corp. (“Ceylon Graphite” or “the Company”), its assets and the information provided in this report. Prospective investors not willing and able to risk a loss of their entire invested capital must not consider purchasing shares of Ceylon Graphite. It is a highly speculative investment.
The projections about Ceylon Graphite’s mineral projects contained in this report are speculative and have not demonstrated economic viability and are not (NI 43-101) compliant. The geological information / technical information included in this report (which includes any outbound links) has not been reviewed and approved by an arms length qualified person under NI 43-101 and therefore must not to be relied upon.
For readers to understand some of the information in this report, they should read Ceylon Graphite’s regulatory filings (available at www.sedar.com) in their entirety.
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This report contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (collectively, “forward-looking statements”). All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that Ceylon Graphite or Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. believe, expect or anticipate will or may occur which address future production, reserve potential, exploration activities and events or developments that the Company expects, are forward looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation: estimates of future graphite prices, supply, demand and/or production; estimates of future cash costs; estimates of future capital expenditures; estimates regarding timing of future development, construction, production or closure activities; statements regarding future exploration results; statements regarding cost structure, project economics, or competitive position; statements comparing the Company’s properties to other mines, projects or metals; Ceylon Graphite’s plans to undertake additional drilling and to develop a mine plan; and Ceylon Graphite’s intention to apply for a Mining License and to commence establishing mining operations. These forward-looking statements reflect the current expectations or beliefs of Ceylon Graphite and/or Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. and are based on information currently available to them and often use words such as “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “intends”, “may” or variations thereof or the negative of any of these terms.
Such forward-looking statements are based on assumptions made by and information currently available to Ceylon Graphite and/or Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc., including the assumption that, the drilling exercises will confirm the presence of high quality graphite, sufficient financial resources will be available, the records from the drilling exercises prove to be accurate, there will be no unanticipated delays or costs materially affecting Ceylon Graphite’s exploration, development and production, there will be no material adverse change in metal prices, all necessary consents, licenses, permits and approvals will be obtained, including various Local Government Licenses and the market.
Investors are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause future results to differ materially from those expected; and, even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, Ceylon Graphite.
Risk factors that could cause actual results for Ceylon Graphite to differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward-looking information in this report include, among other things, an inability to reach a final acquisition agreement, inaccurate results from the drilling exercises, a failure to obtain or delays in obtaining the required regulatory licenses, permits, approvals and consents, an inability to access financing as needed, a general economic downturn, a volatile stock price, labour strikes, political unrest, changes in the mining regulatory regime governing Ceylon Graphite, a failure to comply with environmental regulations, a weakening of market and industry reliance on high quality graphite, the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with Ceylon Graphite’s expectations, developments in world metals markets, and risks related to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. cautions all readers of this report that the above list of risk factors is not exhaustive.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it was made, and except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise.
Although Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. and Ceylon Graphite believe that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to their inherent uncertainty.
We caution all readers that past historical production on any of Ceylon Graphite’s projects, or current production in the general region of which these projects are located, is not necessarily indicative of future production potential for Ceylon Graphite.
Risks and uncertainties respecting mineral exploration companies are generally disclosed in the annual financial or other filing documents of those and similar companies as filed with the relevant securities commissions, and should be reviewed by any reader of this report. In addition, with respect to any particular company, a number of risks relate to any statement of projection or forward statement.
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Disclosure of Compensation:
Set forth below is our disclosure of compensation received from Ceylon Graphite Corp. as of June 23, 2018:
Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc., owner of PinnacleDigest.com, has been paid CDN$50,000 plus gst to provide online advertisement coverage for Ceylon Graphite for a pre-paid six month online marketing agreement. The Company (Ceylon Graphite) has paid for this coverage. The coverage includes, but is not limited to, the creation and distribution of reports authored by PinnacleDigest.com about Ceylon Graphite (reports such as this one), as well as display advertisements and news distribution about the Company on our website and in our newsletter. We (Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc.) have bought and sold shares of Ceylon Graphite in the past. We currently do not own shares of the Company. However, we own 175,000 warrants of Ceylon Graphite. Each warrant entitles Maximus Strategic Consulting Inc. to purchase one common share of Ceylon Graphite at an exercise price of CDN$0.30. These warrants were acquired in a previous private placement completed by Ceylon Graphite which we participated in. If we purchase shares of Ceylon Graphite in the future we will do so with the intent to sell them for our own profit and without notice to our subscribers. Please recognize that we benefit from price and trading volume increases in Ceylon Graphite. Please recognize that we are extremely biased when it comes to Ceylon Graphite.
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