SHANGHAI, Apr 4 (SMM) – China’s Zhiyuan Lithium has officially commissioned its first lithium salt production line with a capacity of 13,000 mt at the end of March, its parent company Weihua Group said in a statement.
As part of a 40,000-mt lithium salt project, the production line includes 8,000 mt of battery-grade lithium carbonate and 5,000 mt of lithium hydroxide, according to China Securities Journal.
While companies in China including Tianqi Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium and Jiangte Motor are looking to ramp up their capacities this year, market participants believe actual lithium carbonate production would be less than expected.
Research from GF Securities suggested that global lithium carbonate supply is expected to be 287,900 mt while demand would be 252,900 mt. However, a shortage of 4,500 mt is expected in China where supply is estimated to be 141,300 mt.
But by 2019, the firm forecast that China’s lithium carbonate supply, at 193,600 mt, would exceed demand by 20,000 mt.
According to SMM’s calculation, China’s planned lithium salt capacity would reach 323,500 mt this year, with 233,500 mt of lithium carbonate and 90,000 mt of lithium hydroxide. However, we expect to see only 78,000 mt of lithium carbonate production and 43,000 mt of lithium hydroxide output.
China produced around 100,000 mt of lithium salt in 2017, SMM data showed.
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