By Dr. Cameron Chai
Galaxy Resources, an Australian producer of lithium compounds, has opened a lithium carbonate plant in the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone, Jiangsu province, China. The plant will produce high grade lithium carbonate for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate Plant in China
The Jiangsu plant is in the final phases of commissioning and the first commercial production is expected to start at the end of Q1 2012. The total cost of the project is approximately A$100 million.
The Jiangsu facility is the largest-capacity lithium carbonate facility in the Asia Pacific. It has a production capacity of 17,000 t of battery grade lithium carbonate per year. The Jiangsu Plant will use lithium concentrate from Mt Cattlin mine, which is owned and operated by Galaxy in Western Australia, as the feedstock to manufacture lithium carbonate. The facility has the potential to produce high-purity lithium carbonate grades, which are used as a key raw material in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Galaxy has signed long term lithium carbonate purchase contracts with Japan-based Mitsubishi and 13 major cathode manufacturers in China.
Craig Readhead, Chairman of Galaxy, stated that the Jiangsu plant’s commissioning signifies a major step in the company’s aim to become an integrated lithium resource, battery and chemical company. Iggy Tan, Managing Director of the company, added that Galaxy is the first resource company in Australia to operate in the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone.