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Competing for the initiative of lithium resources

Views: 1     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-09-19      Origin: Site

Competing for the initiative of lithium resources

Strive for the initiative in the new energy campaign

Whoever has mastered the lithium mineral resources in the upper reaches will firmly hold the ticket of the new energy automobile boom. So it happened that while VC/PE was scrambling for batteries, powerful battery manufacturers were frantically investing in lithium mines.

In June this year, BYD found 6 lithium mines in Africa, which can meet its battery demand in the next ten years. At present, BYD has reached an acquisition intention. It is reported that according to BYD's internal calculation, among the six lithium mines, the amount of ore with a lithium oxide grade of 2.5% has reached more than 25 million tons, which can be converted into 1 million tons of lithium carbonate.  

In fact, it is no secret that BYD buys mines. As early as 2010, BYD had a stake in Zabuye Salt Lake, the largest salt lake lithium mine in China, and invested 18% of Tibet Zabuye Lithium; In 2017, BYD announced that its research and development had broken through the technology of lithium extraction from salt lakes, and based on this, it was planning to build a 30000 ton lithium carbonate project by jointly developing Qinghai salt lake lithium resources with Salt Lake Co., Ltd. In May this year, Salt Lake Corporation disclosed that the 30000t battery grade lithium carbonate project of BYD Salt Lake is conducting a pilot test of lithium extraction technology. After the pilot test results are verified, the two parties will negotiate the project startup.

This year, the scene of robbing the mine became more and more intense.    

At the beginning of this year, BYD successfully won the lithium mining contract of the Ministry of Mines of Chile through its subsidiary, BYD Chile. However, the Chilean court temporarily suspended the lithium mining bidding and authorization announced by the local government because of the dispute over the bidding scheme; In March, Shengxin Lithium Energy, the upstream raw material supplier of BYD, announced that it planned to introduce BYD as a strategic investor by issuing targeted shares, and the two sides would carry out the following long-term cooperation in the field of lithium products. It is reported that Shengxin Lithium Energy's main business covers lithium mining, lithium salt and metal lithium.lithium metal distributors - YuanfarChemicals  

Coincidentally, the era of Ningde, which was rich and powerful, also began to sweep mining enterprises around the world. Since 2018, Ning Wang has successively invested and participated in North American Nickel Inc, North American Lithium lnc, Pilbara Minerals, an Australian lithium mining enterprise, and Manono, a lithium mining project in Congo (Kinshasa), Africa. From copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel and other mineral resources to lithium salt materials to battery materials such as cathode materials, the Ningde era has almost invested every time.

Interestingly, the domestic new energy giants also set off a wave of "competition for mines" overseas. In July 2021, Ganfeng Lithium launched a tender offer for Qianxi Lithium, a lithium project, through its subsidiary Ganfeng International. The agreed purchase price at that time did not exceed CAD 353 million (about RMB 1.837 billion). Unexpectedly, Ningde Times decided to buy Millennium Lithium at a price of 376.8 million Canadian dollars (about 1.944 billion yuan), a little higher than Ganfeng Lithium. It took four months, and finally Ganfeng Lithium won the lithium project with $400 million, and Ningde Times left with $10 million in liquidated damages.

Headquartered in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, Ganfeng Lithium is known by the industry as the "crazy devil of ore hoarding". Since this year, it has carried out four large-scale acquisitions, with the acquisition capital up to 4.2 billion yuan. In June this year, Ganfeng Lithium raised another HK $4.854 billion and planned to continue to purchase lithium resources such as ores, brine and lithium clay. At present, the mineral resources of Ganfeng Lithium are distributed all over Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Ireland, etc.

Lithium battery industry chain        

The lithium battery industry chain is specifically: lithium mine enterprise - lithium salt processing enterprise - cathode material enterprise - battery enterprise - new energy automobile enterprise. Since last year, the price of battery raw materials has risen alarmingly. Taking lithium carbonate, the key battery raw material, as an example, the data of Shanghai Steel Union showed that on September 2, battery grade lithium carbonate rose 3900 yuan/ton, with an average price of 497400 yuan/ton, approaching the threshold of 500000 yuan; In addition, according to Longzhong information data, the high price of single order in the market has been around 505000 yuan/ton, showing signs of approaching 510000 yuan/ton.

Lithium is the core metal element of power battery. Whether it is ternary lithium battery, lithium iron phosphate battery or future solid state battery, lithium is indispensable. Therefore, lithium has become the most scarce mineral resource.John B. Goodenough, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and the father of lithium batteries, once warned that "lithium resources are no less important than strategic resources such as oil. Once lithium resources are exploited at a bottleneck, they may become the fuse of war like oil." If oil is the most important strategic resource in the era of fuel vehicles, lithium is equivalent to "oil" in the new energy era.

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