North American graphite plays have been making a nice move to end 2013 and ring-in 2014. A driver was a halt on graphite production put into effect in December in Pingdu, Shandong, China after dozens of mining companies failed to meet standards for environmental protection. China is responsible for about 75 percent of global graphite production, with roughly 10 percent of the world’s production coming from the region, according to Simon Moores of Industrial Minerals. As such, the news immediately sparked future supply concerns and speculation about if and when the miners would be allowed to resume production.
The impact of the shutdown won’t make itself clear for another few weeks as Chinese graphite miners traditionally shutter their door for a winter break (November to February) at this time anyway. However, as Moores noted, a similar shutdown in Mongolia in 2008 that choked global supplies by about 5 …