THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Kibaran Resources (ASX: KNL) has gained access to the Japan-Korea battery market through the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japanese commodities trader, Sojitz Corporation.
The signing is Kibaran’s second expansion into international graphite markets, following its binding 10-year 30,000 tonnes per year offtake deals last year with European customers including the German global industrial conglomerate, ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products GmbH.
The MoU sets out an in-principle understanding for Sojitz and Kibaran to enter into commercial negotiations concerning the following:
Sojitz to source graphite in Tanzania exclusively from Kibaran’s high-grade and wholly-owned Epanko project;
Exclusive sales and marketing by Sojitz, for a range of key applications, in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and the United States for Epanko’s high-purity natural flake graphite grades;
Entry via Sojitz to the lucrative supply-chain for the fast growing lithium ion (Li-Ion batteries or LIB) battery market; and
Unique long-term sales into Japanese and Korean battery anode manufacturers.
“The Sojitz MoU is a major milestone for the company, providing Kibaran with additional independent endorsement of the quality and commercial appeal of our Epanko natural flake graphite,” Kibaran Resources managing director Andrew Spinks said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“This MoU not only supports the development of Epanko but also advances Kibaran’s plans to manufacture spherical graphite, expandable graphite and other value added products for a broad range of industrial applications with forecast significant growth rates.
“It is not yet fully understood by equities markets but lithium ion battery innovation is being led by Japan, Korea, China and Germany, hence our emerging positioning of Kibaran as a major supply chain and alternative supply to mainland China.”