BYD in Talks to Buy Six Lithium Mines in Africa

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is in talks to buy six lithium mines in Africa, The Paper reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The total resources of lithium oxide at a 2.5% grade in the six lithium mines are estimated at more than 25 million tons, which is equivalent to 1 million tons of lithium carbonate.

If all the 25 million tons of resources are mined, it can meet the power battery demand of 27.78 million pure electric vehicles. BYD’s sales target in 2022 is 1.5 million vehicles. Based on this calculation, BYD will have access to sufficient raw material supply for the next ten years.

According to the above sources, several of the six lithium mines can begin shipments next month, and it is expected that this lithium can be loaded into BYD’s blade batteries in the third quarter of this year.

BYD has been accelerating the layout of lithium resources for a long time now. Chengxin Lithium announced on March 22 that it plans to introduce BYD as a strategic investor. On May 17, Salt Lake Industry Co., Ltd. said that it has been testing the lithium extraction technology for BYD’s 30,000-ton battery-grade lithium carbonate project.

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At the end of 2020, the price of lithium carbonate was about 50,000 yuan per ton, but with the sales volume of new energy vehicles soaring in 2021, lithium carbonate once exceeded 500,000 yuan ($7,465) per ton in March this year. The cost of power batteries for vehicles has been increased by 10,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan. More and more car companies have begun to control lithium resources, including acquiring lithium mines, seeking strategic partners, locking supply by signing long-term agreements, and laying out lithium battery recycling systems.