POSCO gets into lithium hydroxide game
POSCO one of the world’s biggest steelmakers commenced producing lithium hydroxide this month. Facility has an annual capacity of 1,500 tons of lithium hydroxide and is located inside the steel mill in Gwangyang, about 420 kilometers southwest of Seoul.
POSCO intends to sell lithium hydroxide to domestic battery makers, as Samsung SDI Co. and LG Chem Ltd., which have been mostly relying on imports.
“We have stepped-up efforts in the past eight years to produce and commercialize lithium hydroxide, as we see it as a new growth driver. We will continue to locally produce other core materials that have been imported by Korean firms,” POSCO Chairman Kwon Oh-joon said in the statement.
In 2010, POSCO developed the technology to directly extract lithium from used rechargeable batteries, sea water and lithium ore. It started producing 1,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year at the Gwangyang steel plant in early 2017.
Lithium hydroxide is applied in manufacturing batteries for electric cars, while lithium carbonate is mainly used in laptop and mobile phone batteries.
Argentinian provinces step up the regulation on the regional level
Northern provinces of Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca united in a “lithium board” whose main goal would be to create and enforce a regulatory framework affecting the operations of lithium mining companies.
Secretariat of Mines stated that the country has 873,000 hectares available for the extraction of lithium and 53 projects worth around USD 2 billion are already being developed. The publicly available data also reveals that the province of Salta received USD 400 million in lithium mining investments, and Jujuy and Catamarca expect to receive around USD 700 million by the end of next year. In total lithium is projected to bring about $7.7 billion of revenues into Argentina’s budget by 2022.
Lithium board aims to establish standards in regard of environmental impact monitoring, water-quality tests, toxic waste management, and a process of mining licences issuance.
Lithium ETFs down
Global X Lithium & Battery Tech exchange-traded fund has been recently down by 16%, based on the new investors consensus that the demand will grow slightly slower than expected, while supply will increase slightly higher than was forecasted. The ETF tracks an index mainly build of companies as FMC Corp., Tesla Inc. and Albemarle Corp.
“ETF is on track for its fourth straight monthly decline, the longest losing streak since 2015. Despite the slump, the ETF has seen its assets surge 746 percent since the end of 2016, (…). That’s the second-fastest growth rate among 819 peers across all asset classes.” according to Bloomberg.
China works on standardizing EV industry
China is working to improve standardization in its electric vehicle (EV) industry and set guidelines that could be adopted worldwide, positioning itself as a global leader in this field.
The government will focus its efforts on recharging, battery design and fuel consumption, the country’s industry ministry stated.
China experienced an increase of 53 percent in 2017 in sales of electric vehicles.
It manufactured 794,000 EV units and sold 777,000 in the same year, notably the highest number sold in any country. Moreover, total EV ownership in China reached 1.8 million, more than half of the global total.