Graphite play Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX:EV1) has exploded off the blocks with shares in the company up 225% since listing on the bourse today.

The company, a spin-off of Marvel Gold’s (ASX:MVL) graphite assets, already had a warm welcome from investors prior to listing with its oversubscribed initial public offering raising a rather substantial $22m, well above the minimum of $13m it was seeking.

Evolution’s remarkable performance places it well in the ranks of the best performing IPOs this year, beaten out only by Kuniko (ASX:KNI) and its jaw-dropping 740% gain to date, Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL) with its 390% gain, Australasian Gold (ASX:A8G), which is up 265% and 92 Energy (ASX:92E), up 245%.

With the exception of 92 Energy and its uranium focus, all of these are all involved in the battery metals sector.

This performance is also well above the average 25% gain of all 2021 ASX IPOs put together (excluding Evolution itself).

This is no doubt due to the rapidly growing demand for battery metals such as graphite, which actually makes up the vast majority of the active materials use in lithium-ion anodes and the hope that projects such as its Chilalo project in Tanzania can provide a credible alternative to Chinese sources.


Chilalo graphite project

Chilalo is a high-grade deposit, the majority (60%) of which presents itself as very large natural flake graphite.

This means that not only can it supply the growing demand for battery anode material, but the larger flakes can also for expandable graphite, which can be pressed into sheets and used for heat and fire protection, in applications ranging from building materials to consumer electronics and fuel cells.

Its relative rarity also means that large flake graphite draws a premium price.

Chilalo and its resource of 20.1 million tonnes at 9.9% total graphitic carbon is also at a very advanced stage.

Previous work put into it by Marvel means that a definitive feasibility study, environmental approvals and a mining licence are already in place, allowing Evolution to focus on progressing the front-end engineering and design studies that will take it towards a final investment decision.