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Protect, expand lithium, CPPCC member says

Updated: 2022-03-08 chinadaily.com.cn


Battery top covers are welded at a plant of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Exploration and development of domestic lithium deposits should be accelerated to ensure the supply chain of the resource, according to a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.

A core raw material for batteries, lithium faces a grim supply and demand situation, according to Zeng Yuqun, a member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.

"Independent innovation and scientific and technological research should be strengthened to improve the level of recycling and efficient utilization of lithium," said Zeng, who is chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co, or CATL, China's leading automotive lithium-ion battery maker.

Zeng said, CATL has been making efforts to optimize lithium resources upstream from manufacturers in recent years.

The company signed an agreement in January with Yongxing Materials to establish a joint venture to build a lithium carbonate factory. The project, with an investment of 2.5 billion yuan ($400 million), is expected to produce 50,000 tons of lithium carbonate annually, sources at CATL said.

The company begun construction on two other projects in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone early in February, with a total investment of 2.8 billion yuan.

Projects related to batteries and smart technology in the zone's Lin-gang Special Area include workshops, warehouses for raw materials and finished goods and a research and development office building.

CATL has also teamed up with Guangdong Jiayuan Technology Co to establish a joint venture on Feb 25, with a registered capital of 500 million yuan. The venture will feature research and development of technologies using new materials, special electronics materials, nonferrous metals and alloy materials with high performance.

CATL's installed power battery capacity reached 97 gigawatt-hours in 2021, surging 168 percent year-on-year, with its global market share reaching 33 percent, according to market research company SNE Research.

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