China’s Qinghai targets mammoth lithium carbonate expansion – Benchmark Minerals to visit

Announcing Benchmark’s Lithium field Trip 2018: from May 20-25 2018, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence is organizing a lithium field trip which will include trips to Qinghai Salt Lakes and meetings with the management. 

Contact Albert (Qi) Li for more details: ali@benchmarkminerals.com

Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co.,Ltd has revealed a huge expansion plan in China in a bid to put to brine producer firmly in the centre of China’s lithium industry.

Two of Qinghai’s subsidiaries, Qinghai Salt Lake BYD Resource Development Co – a partnership with the country’s leading integrated EV and battery producer, BYD – and Qinghai Salt Lake Fozhao Lanke Lithium Co has started building two new battery-grade lithium carbonate projects with a combined capacity of 50,000 tpa LCE.

The group’s total investment of around CNY 8bn aims to provide BYD with a 30,000 tpa LCE plant while Fozhao is targetting a further 20,000 tpa LCE. Completion of both plants has been slated for H2 2019.

These targets are ambitious considering Qinghai projects have historically struggled to produce at above 5,000 tpa  due to a higher magnesium/lithium ratio than found In other areas of the world. Therefore producing battery grade supply for the burgeoning battery market is yet to be a realised.

Although China has been working to develop a technical breakthrough to overcome these issues for over a decade, several different lithium extraction methods have proved unsuccessful.

It is therefore yet to be seen whether Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co will be able to expand at these rates, particularly in achieving a battery-grade carbonate.

Benchmark will be taking clients and industry experts to Qinghai to see the plans first hand. To attend the field trip, please email Albert Li on ali@benchmarkminerals.com 

At the project initiation ceremony, Chuanfu Wang, CEO of BYD, said that BYD’s breakthrough in the technology of making lithium absorbent from salt lake brine is the key for the industrialization of salt lake lithium extraction.

Xingfu Wang, CEO of Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co.,Ltd, said the company plans to build the biggest basic and high end lithium salt industrial base in China, reaching 60,000 tpa before 2020.

In January, Jianjun Wang, Governor of Qinghai, said in a government report that Qinghai will push salt lake resource development to national strategy level this year and by 2025 they are targeting local carbonate capacity in the region of 120,000 tpa. In addition the province is aiming to develop a 160,000 tpa cathode industry and 100,000 tpa anode market.

 

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