Qingdao Jinhui Graphite Co. Ltd of China and Triton Materials Ltd of Australia have struck a preliminary deal that could start the development of the Ancuabe graphite mine in northern Mozambique, Lusa reports.

The Portuguese news agency quotes Triton Materials as telling the stock market that the deal covers due diligence surveys with a view to a final agreement being reached in the next six months.

The report says Qingdao Jinhui Graphite may pay up to 10 percent of the cost of developing the mine, lend money cheaply to buy mining equipment, and get in exchange up to 15,000 tonnes of graphite a year.

“Chinese domestic producers are now actively looking to East Africa,” Lusa quotes Triton Materials Managing Director Peter Canterbury as telling the stock market, “in preparation for the significant growth anticipated in the battery and flame-retardant materials markets.”