It's often difficult to understand the global markets for critical minerals so The Gold Report narrowed it to three—lithium, cobalt and graphite—and brought in Simon Moores, managing director of London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, and the firm's analyst, Andrew Miller, to provide insight into minerals that they say need to shed their labels as traditional commodities and embrace their future as niche, raw-material solutions for a growing list of technology manufacturers.
As natural resources bounced all over the charts in 2014, particularly gold, readers turned to the experts interviewed by The Gold Report for insights on what was driving these ups and downs and how they could protect themselves or, better yet, benefit from the volatility. Check out some of the most popular experts featured during the year and some thoughts you might want to consider as you prepare for 2015.
China's recent halting of flake graphite production in Pingdu, Shandong, made headlines, and has many investors wondering how supply may shift. Simon Moores sees an interesting dynamic unfolding in the graphite space over the next five years.
Parallels between graphite and lithium are superficial, insists the analyst with Industrial Minerals. Graphite, unlike lithium, supplies layers of demand, with reliable end-users in the steel industry. Meanwhile, China is making way for market entrants.
Although the first wave of the latest graphite boom may be over, analysts still see a lot of momentum. Predicting which graphite play will move farther faster can often prove difficult, if not impossible, but experts in the sector are providing some suggestions.
Graphite is the "Next Big Thing" for resource investors, but as in any sector, due diligence is a prerequisite for success. The graphite market specialist with Industrial Minerals in London lists which companies to watch in this emerging industry.