In lithium-ion battery production, anodes (carbon anodes) are a crucial yet overlooked component of the supply chain. Sourced from either naturally mined and processed graphite or synthetically produced graphite, anodes are one of the four critical battery raw materials cited by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence together with lithium, nickel and cobalt.

Shifts in the supply patterns of flake graphite – the feedstock to make spherical graphite anode – can directly impact the fortunes of lithium ion battery cell producers and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers.

Accurate price data on anodes and flake graphite is critical to making key supply chain decisions. Expert analysis and context for these price movements are the bedrock to understanding the entire supply chain and planning for the future. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence is the world’s leading Price Reporting Agency (PRA) for anodes and flake graphite feedstock material. Subscribe today! Email us at [email protected] 

Anodes: An Overview

Anodes are the positively charged electrodes in dry power cells. In lithium-ion battery packs anodes are commonly made with graphite powder, although manufacturers are also looking at silicon as an alternative material. Aluminium or copper foil to collect current and binders like styrene-butadiene copolymer (SBMR) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) are used to hold the materials together.

Anodes in the Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain

Anodes are manufactured independently of the lithium-ion batteries. The anode journey into the lithium ion cell begins from a flake graphite mine, the starting mineral and a naturally produced form of carbon. Production of flake graphite – one of three naturally occurring forms of graphite – was around 630,000 tonnes in 2017, of which 20% was directed into the production of uncoated spherical graphite. The flake graphite feedstock undergoes intense physical milling and chemical purification to produce uncoated spherical graphite. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence assesses prices of flake graphite grades from +80 mesh, +100 mesh, -100 mesh at varying carbon purities from 94-95% C, 96% C and 97% C.  Benchmark Mineral Intelligence also assess the prices of battery grade uncoated spherical graphite at 10 microns, 15 microns and 20 microns in size, and 99.95% C purities.  We are always adding new grades to our price assessments. Please see our Price Assessments  tab on the homepage for the latest info.  Mining of flake graphite takes place predominantly in China, with Brazil being the only other major supplier. China’s three biggest producers of flake graphite in 2017 were Aoyu Graphite Industries, BTR New Energy Materials and Yixiang Graphite Group, all of which operate in the flake graphite capital of China – Heilongjiang province. In 2018, Syrah Resources in Mozambique began operations and is ramping up to become one the world’s largest flake graphite mines. Production in China is scattered across the country, with several small scale mines feeding into larger processing plants. When purchasing anodes, lithium ion battery producers and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers consider consistency as one of the most important characteristics from a supplier. As a result, the source of flake graphite and the impurities the raw materials can contain are of importance to the buyer. This is one reason why anodes are specialty products and not commodities. Our expert analysts can give you a more detailed insight into the anode supply chain and how it intersects with the production of lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, they can give you in-depth analysis and forecasts on graphite anodes, and how the emergence of alternative materials can affect the electronic vehicle industry.

Subscribe to Benchmark Minerals

Obtain price data, projections, and other vital information from the Benchmark Minerals data gathering team. You can also count on the reliable assessments of industry analysts. Leverage Benchmark Minerals’ data to make smart investments. When you subscribe to Benchmark Minerals, you’ll receive a monthly report on the market prices of anodes and battery-grade raw materials for lithium-ion cells. Our graphite and anode offerings include:
Graphite and Anode Price Assessments
Our Price Assessment team are the world’s leading independent analysts in the commercial graphite and anode industry. We collect price information that is used to negotiate supply contracts and make investment decisions in the lithium ion battery supply chain. This market price information is published on a regular basis together with unrivalled analysis on the graphite and anode industry that is gained from visiting operations around the world. See our Price Assessment Tab for more. 
Graphite Forecasting & Consultancy
We offer medium and long-termforecasting for flake graphite and anode materials. Our layered analysis – mine by mine, plant by plant – uses data that has been built up from years in the industry. Together with Benchmark Minerals unrivalled knowledge in the space, our forecasting and consultancy has aided the biggest business decisions in the lithium ion battery and electric vehicle supply chain. See our Forecasting & Consultancy Tab for more. See our Forecasting & Consultancy Tab for more. 
Graphite + Anodes Conference
An annual conference that is hosted as part of Benchmark Minerals Week. The event brings together major producers of flake graphite, synthetic graphite, anode materials, lithium ion batteries and electric vehicle manufacturers. See our Events Tab for more.

On the ground: Every step of the chain

Benchmark Minerals has unrivalled access to the lithium ion battery supply chain’s mines and processing plants. We invest significant amounts of time and money to travel to the far corners of the world to gather information, learn about what is really happening, and build connections. Graphite and anodes are no exception.
Flake graphite mining in China:
flake graphite china
Flake flotation: a critical step in liberating the flake graphite from the ore
flake graphite flotation
Flake graphite bagging:
Graphite in China
On site: a worker at a flake graphite processing facility in China
Flake Graphite Mining in China
Bags of flake graphite up-close
Flake graphite china
Spherical graphite milling equipment in China
spherical graphite