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Driven by the rapid growth of new energy vehicles, energy storage, 5G technology, 3C digital and other technologies, the global demand for lithium salts presents a rapidly rising trend, and annual demand is expected to reach 1.4 million tons in 2025. In order to stabilize the supply of lithium resources, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clearly proposed that this year will focus on meeting the production needs of power batteries, etc. and moderately accelerate the development of lithium, nickel and other resources in China.

From the perspective of the lithium resource supplying condition in China, the current lithium resources of China mainly includes the spodumene, salt lake lithium resources, lepidolite, lithium, lithium clay minerals resources, concentrated in sichuan, Qinghai, Yichun, Yunnan, Guizhou and other places, a diversified supply pattern of lithium ore resources, lithium extraction from salt lakes, recycling of used lithium batteries and lithium clay resources will be formed in 2025. In the following articles, we will introduce the lithium resource supplying condition in China in detail.

1.Lithium ore resources

At present, the production of lithium extraction from lithium resources in China is about 100,000 tons, which is expected to reach 300,000 tons by 2025, including 150,000 tons of lepidolite and 150,000 tons of spodumenite. Lepidolite in China are mainly distributed in Yichun, Jiangxi province, and the shipments of lithium extracted from lepidolite in China are concentrated in 4 Jiangxi enterprises, including YONGXING, JIANGTE, Feiyu, NANSHI, etc.

Lithium ore resources

Currently, power battery giants such as CATL and GOTION High-tech have also joined the development of lepidolite ores. Spodumene deposits in China are mainly distributed in Sichuan, accounting for more than 50% of the country's lithium deposits, mainly concentrated in two major ore fields including the Gyabjeka lithium-beryllium deposit from Garzê and Keryin ore concentration area in Ngawa.

There are mainly 6 mines with mining rights presently, which are Gyabjeka lithium-beryllium deposit from Kangding, Garzê, Dechenongba lithium deposit, spodumene deposits in Cuola mine in Yajiang and Lijiagou, Maerkang, Yelonggou spodumene deposit in Ngawa respectively. Major development enterprises participating in the development of lepidolite deposits include Youngy, TIANQI, VSINOVA, YaHua, Zhonghe, CHENGXIN etc.

2.Lithium extraction from salt lake

The salt lake resources in China are mainly concentrated in Qinghai Salt Lake brine resources and Tibet salt lake brine resources. At present, the annual production of lithium extraction from brine of Qinghai Salt Lake is about 50,000 tons, and it is expected to reach 200,000 tons by 2025. The annual output of lithium extraction from Tibet Salt Lake brine is about 3,000 tons at present and is expected to reach 50,000 tons in 2025.

Lithium extraction from salt lake

Currently, mining, power battery and material enterprises, including Qinghai Lithium, Citic Guoan, Qinghai Salt Lake Industry, TIBET SUMMIT , EVE, FULIN P.M., Ganfeng Lithium, Tibet Mineral Development, JINYUAN, etc. are accelerating the development and construction of Salt lake resources in China and the release of production capacity.

3.Waste lithium battery recycling

At the moment, the amount of lithium from the recycling of waste lithium batteries is about 5000 tons/year, which is expected to reach 50,000 tons/year in 2025. With lithium battery recycling into the outbreak period, coupled with the demand for the supply and stability maintenance of lithium battery raw materials, Chinese power battery enterprises, oems, materials enterprises and third-party recycling enterprises have entered this race track one after another. The business model is mainly based on the cooperation of the aforementioned enterprises to forge the power battery recycling and resource closed-loop mode.

Waste lithium battery recycling

4.Lithium clay mineral resources

Ganfeng Lithium possesses lithium clay resources in Mexico, with a total reserves of more than 10 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, and is expected to form lithium salt capacity of 100,000 tons per year lithium carbonate equivalent in 2025. Sonora is a lithium clay extraction project located in Mexico, the project has a total lithium resource of 8.82 million tons LCE, and it is still under construction. The clay lithium extraction process is determined by the occurrence state, which is the key factor to determine the clay lithium extraction process.

The main material composition and chemical composition of clay lithium ore determine the subsequent extraction process and even the purification process. Lithium extraction from clay has comprehensive advantages and good development prospects. The speed of lithium extraction from clay is similar to that from ore, and the cost is similar to that from brine, which is in a lower range. Previously, due to the small scale of downstream demand, spodumene and salt lake took the lead in industrialization to meet the supply and ignored the lower grade lithium clay. Driven by new energy vehicles, the demand for lithium explodes rapidly. Lithium clay has attracted attention because of its technological progress in lithium extraction and large resource reserves, and has good development prospects.

5.CATL accelerated the development of Chinese lithium resources

Recently, Sichuan Kant was established, its business scope includes mineral processing, mineral washing and processing, metal ore sales, precious metal smelting (except rare earth, radioactive minerals, tungsten) and new energy technology research and development, and the majority shareholder behind it is CATL.In fact, earlier than this February, Sichuan Contemporary Amperex Technology has signed a joint venture agreement with GARZE TIBETAN AUTONOMOUS PREFECTURE INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT GROUP, Yibin Sanjiang Huida New Energy Resources, Sichuan Tianfu Mining Investment to cooperate to cooperate to speed up the exploration and development of lithium resources in Sichuan and increase the supply of lithium resources.

CATL accelerated the development of Chinese lithium resources

The logic of CATL Sichuan mine lock is that since 2021, the supply of upstream lithium salts has been tight and the price has continued to rise, resulting in great pressure for power battery companies and the entire supply chain. Especially in the context of large-scale capacity expansion, CATL has a more urgent need for upstream lithium resources layout. CATL ensures the stable supply of lithium resources through diversification, and its lithium recycling rate has exceeded 90%. CATL has also arranged in advance in many places in Sichuan, Guizhou and Yichun to lock the development of Chinese lithium resources.

Not only CATL, including SVOLT, EVE, GOTION High-tech, BYD, SUNWODA and other battery enterprises have set foot in the development of Chinese lithium resources through investment, capital increase, acquisition, technical cooperation and other ways to strengthen the control of lithium resources. The layout of Chinese lithium resource development of battery enterprises and lithium salt enterprises is conducive to reducing the dependence on the import of global lithium concentrate and building diversified raw material supply channels, boosting the industrialization of Lithium extraction from lepidolite and salt lake in China and easing the supply shortage of electrolyte lithium salt in China.