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Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China

US-based Albemarle’s move, to acquire a lithium converter in China for US$200 million to boost its production capabilities, is the latest in series of big investments in the sector.
Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China Albemarle acquires lithium converter in China

Companies move to shore up lithium supply amid global transition to cleaner energy

Staff reporter

Albemarle said on Thursday it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding equity of Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials.

Tianyuan's new plant near the Port of Qinzhou in Guangxi, expected to begin commercial production in the first half of 2022, has designed annual conversion capacity of up to 25,000 metric tons LCE and is capable of producing battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

"This will be a key component of our next wave of projects designed to increase our conversion capacity in a capital-efficient manner in the coming years," Albemarle CEO Kent Masters said.

"As the global transition to cleaner energy rapidly develops, this added lithium capacity will enable us to help our customers achieve their growth and sustainability ambitions."

Also last week, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) beat rival Ganfeng Lithium to acquire Millennial Lithium for C$377 million.

Millennial has a pilot plant operating at its Pastos Grandes lithium brine project and the earlier-stage Cauchari East project, both in Argentina.

In a busy week for battery giant CATL, its private investment entity with Pei Zhenhua called Suzhou CATH Energy Technologies agreed to invest more than US$400 million to become a partner in AVZ Minerals' Manono lithium-tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CATH and AVZ are assessing an expansion scenario for Manono, where a final investment is imminent.