SHANGHAI, Jul 28 (SMM) - The lithium battery industry is booming in 2021. The new energy industry is rising rapidly under the background of stimulus policies and the global electrification trend, driving the entire industry chain into a stage of vigorous development.
As one of the most important basic raw materials for new energy vehicles, lithium resources saw short supply and price increase at the end of 2020 and stable prices amid recovering supply in Q2 2021. The supply of lithium resources has become an important influencing factor for the future development of new energy. How will the customer base in the industry chain, including downstream precursors, materials, batteries, automobiles, and upstream nickel, cobalt and lithium raw material manufacturers, balance the increase in production and the supply of raw materials?
SMM has integrated the upstream and downstream enterprises in the lithium battery industry chain and conducted on-site surveys on lithium battery related companies.
From July 19 to 23, SMM New Energy Division Director Wang Tian and marketing consultant Yu Lei led the SMM staff and members of the delegation to visit raw material enterprises of lithium battery industry in Qinghai, with the purpose of facilitating closer and in-depth cooperation as well as more effective and sustainable communications.
The delegation members come from Jiangxi Longente Environmental Protection Equipment Co., Ltd., Binteer Control Equipment Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Shangtuo Environmental Technology Co., Ltd., Xiangtan Huibo Centrifuge Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Dongou Filter Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
On July 22, the delegation visited Qinghai CITIC Guoan Lithium Industry Development Co., Ltd.
About Qinghai CITIC Guoan Lithium Industry Development Co., Ltd.
The delegation was warmly welcomed by the management of CITIC Guoan, including the deputy general manager Li Yong, sales director Ke Chao, and Wu Xiaowang, deputy production director and factory manager of lithium carbonate. The delegation then listened to the presentation on the company’s business development.
Qinghai CITIC Guoan Lithium Industry Development Co., Ltd. (“CITIC Guoan”) was established in May 2017 with a registered capital of 400 million yuan. The Xitai Ginel Salt Lake developed by the company is rich in brine resources of potassium, lithium, boron, and magnesium. It is a large-scale lithium mine with associated potassium, magnesium, sulphur, boron and other resources.
Its mineral resource endowment is among the top in China. The market demand of potassium sulphate, lithium carbonate and other products stood stable for a long time as they are concerned with the national food and energy security. According to statistics, the comprehensive development project on Xitai Ginel Salt Lake can support an annual production capacity of 500,000 mt of potash fertiliser, 30,000 mt of lithium carbonate, and 10,000 mt of boric acid.
The company has built the salt fields covering 122 square kilometres with auxiliary facilities, staff living quarters, self-supplied power plants, 110KV substations, etc. The development project has expanded from a single product of potassium magnesium sulphate fertiliser (about 110,000 mt/year) in 2007 to a product portfolio with an annual output of 400,000 mt of KCl, 300,000 mt of potassium sulphate, over 5,000 mt of battery-grade lithium carbonate, over 5,000 mt of boric acid and magnesium oxide, etc. The project has realised the comprehensive development and utilisation of salt lake resources.
The company's product quality of "Guoan" battery-grade lithium carbonate has been comparable to international standard. Through its core customers, Dangsheng Technology and other leading companies in the lithium battery industry, the product has been recognised and adopted by Samsung, Sony, LG, Tesla, and major European and American car manufacturers. "Guoan" battery-grade lithium carbonate has been recognised by the world's major new energy battery manufacturers. The output of "Guoan" potassium sulphate ranks first in Qinghai Province and second in China, and the major customers are the domestic leading enterprises in the agricultural material industry. The product quality is in the leading position of the water-salt production system.
The delegation later visited the factory of Qinghai CITIC Guoan Lithium Industry Development Co., Ltd. to gain an in-depth understanding of the company's production process and product qualities.
The delegation members conducted in-depth exchanges with CITIC Guoan on its core competitiveness and future development plans.
Many companies have difficulties to remove boron in production, and CITIC Guoan was asked about their solution to this technology difficulty. The company explained that boron is a substance between organic and inorganic, which is hard to be removed. CITIC Guoan can turn boron into a product with its unique technology, which is able to remove boron to 60ppm residual in the acidising workshop. Boron can also be removed in the calcination by reacting with magnesium oxide to become magnesium borate.
CITIC Guoan can directly produce battery-grade lithium carbonate, while most companies can only produce quasi-level battery-grade lithium carbonate. CITIC Guoan was asked whether the production is supported by the unique technology, and whether changing the process will affect the product quality. CITIC Guoan replied that it has unique advantages in back-end lithium deposition with is prominent impurity removal technology from more than ten years of exploration.
When asked whether the company have compared the investment amount required to develop membrane method and calcination method, CITIC Guoan Qinghai stated it had invested about 1 billion yuan in the membrane process of the 20,000 mt lithium carbonate project, and the investment in calcination method was relatively lower.
The Group Photo
At the end of the tour visit, the delegation group and CITIC Guoan took a group photo as the visit has brought deeper cooperation and friendship and on the basis of which, there will be deeper exchanges and cooperation in the future.
Through this visit, SMM and the delegation group have gained a deeper understanding of the products, technologies, and company development of CITIC Guoan, as well as the market status, development trends, and problems of the lithium industry. SMM will continue to deepen cooperation with major companies to achieve complementary advantages and jointly promote the development of China’s lithium industry.
Special thanks to: Jiangxi Longente Environmental Protection Equipment Co., Ltd., Binteer Control Equipment Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Shangtuo Environmental Technology Co., Ltd., Xiangtan Huibo Centrifuge Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Dongou Filter Manufacturing Co., Ltd.