China sweeps up lithium supplies in acquisition blitz

By Paul Homewood


No surprise there then!



Chinese companies are snatching up lithium projects worldwide, ensuring access to supplies of the metal amid worsening global shortages and surging prices.

The nation’s mining and battery companies acquired 6.4 million tonnes of lithium in reserves and resources in 2021, as of Oct. 18, nearly matching the 6.8 Mt of lithium acquired by all companies in 2020. China-based mining and battery giants have placed winning bids on five development-stage lithium projects valued at $1.58 billion, not including off-take and royalty deals, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Although China leads in global lithium processing and refining, it still sources the bulk of raw lithium products beyond its borders, including from Australia, Chile and Argentina. China’s buying spree, which stretches from Africa to South America, will safeguard access to lithium resources as COVID-19 disruptions and geopolitical tensions test the fragility of international supply chains. Global deficits in lithium supplies may also surge more than 60-fold to 950,000 tonnes in 2030, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, as rising sales of electric vehicles spur demand for the battery-making metal.

"Chinese companies have done the math and realized how much lithium they’re going to need to meet either battery or EV growth plans and have decided to try to secure that by going after some of the most promising junior projects in development," said Seth Goldstein, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.

SNL Image

According to BP, Lithium production amounts to about 90,000 tonnes pa, and global reserves stood at 19 million tonnes at the end of 2020.


November 4, 2021 at 01:30PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s