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Argus Media Limited

10/12/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2021 05:34

China's Brunp to build cathode material industrial park

Guangdong Brunp Recycling Technology, a major Chinese lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide (NCM) precursor and material manufacturer, plans to build a lithium-ion battery cathode active material (CAM) industrial park at Yichang in central China's Hubei province.

The project is designed to meet rapid developments in the new energy vehicle industry and power battery capacity expansions by its parent Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the country's largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer.

The firm will invest no more than 32bn yuan ($4.9bn) to build the industrial park with a product chain extending from battery material recycling, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and precursor, ternary cathode material and its precursor and graphite to phosphoric acid. Construction will take six years from 2022-27, with more details such as capacity of the project undisclosed.

Guangdong Brunp currently has an output capacity of 100,000 t/yr of NCM precursor and 20,000 t/yr of NCM material. It has invested in a high-pressure acid leaching project in Indonesia to produce mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate, in partnership with Chinese cobalt refinery and battery material producer Green Eco-Manufacture (GEM) and domestic steel producer Tsingshan. The project is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of next year with capacity of 50,000 t/yr of nickel metal equivalent and 5,000 t/yr of cobalt metal equivalent. Brunp also recycles cobalt/nickel/lithium scrap into raw materials.

CATL owns around a 53pc stake in Guangdong Brunp. Brunp president Li Changdong and other shareholders hold the remaining shares.

China's power battery output surged by over 200pc on the year to 111.5GWh in January-August, with installed volumes up by 176.3pc to 76.3GWh. CATL was one of China's top three battery manufacturers in terms of installed volumes during January-August with 37.9GWh, accounting for 49.7pc of China's total, followed by BYD and China Aviation LB with 15.6pc and 6.6pc respectively.

CATL is expanding its lithium-ion battery output capacity and securing lithium, cobalt and nickel feedstock supplies by investing in many projects in the industry chain.

It unveiled plans in August to build 137 GWh/yr of lithium-ion battery capacity across five production projects in Fujian, Guangdong and Jiangsu by raising Yn58.2bn from the stock market. It said in September that it has established a strategic partnership with German chemicals firm BASF in the field of battery material solutions.

Canadian producer Millennial Lithium last month received an offer from CATL, which would pay C$377mn for all outstanding shares in Millennial. It is also partnering diversified metals producer China Molybdenum (CMOC) to develop the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CATL is one of the top five shareholders of Canadian producer Neo Lithium with around an 8pc stake. Neo Lithium operates one of the largest lithium brine operations in Argentina.

CATL also holds an 8.5pc stake in Australian producer Pilbara Minerals, which owns one of the largest hard rock lithium mines in Australia.