Category Archives: China

China Becomes Major Lithium Carbonate Exporter, Benchmark Announces China Lithium Field Trip 2019

Here we take a look at recent developments in the lithium ion battery supply chain in China, followed with details of Benchmark’s upcoming field trip.

Benchmark Minerals’ China Lithium Field Trip 2019 field trip could not be timelier as China’s role in the lithium ion battery supply chain becomes increasingly prominent.

For the first time in 2018, China became a major exporter of lithium carbonate, with exports up over six-times to 11,131 tonnes. Over the same period imports were down 20%, showing China’s increasing self-sufficiency in the lithium carbonate market.… Read more

Who is winning the global lithium ion battery arms race?

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) has caused upheaval in the lithium ion battery industry.

Before Elon Musk announced Tesla’s intention to build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery plant, The Gigafactory 1, lithium ion batteries were somewhat of a cottage industry geared to supplying a mobile consumer market for smartphones, laptops, and power-tools.

As we firmly settle into the 21st Century, the lithium ion battery industry has become one of the most critical globally as its role in the energy storage revolution becomes more and more apparent.… Read more

DOWNLOAD: Lithium, cobalt prices enter new period of volatility as era of EV begins; vanadium awaits lithium ion moment

Lithium and cobalt prices are experiencing a new period of volatility as prices crest from post-2010 highs. Both speciality minerals that are key components in an electric vehicle’s lithium ion battery began to see a downward turn in 2018.

The Benchmark World Tour 2018 – the world’s leading investor forum for lithium ion supply chain and in its 4th year – explored these themes in Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney over the last two weeks. Download presentations from the Benchmark World Tour below.Read more

A new era for commodities as sustained lithium price run marks onset of EV demand – Benchmark Minerals

Prices of lithium carbonate, a key lithium ion battery raw material, have increased nearly 40% in the last 12 months as a wave of global electric vehicle (EV) production begins to have a sustained impact on the industry.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Lithium Carbonate South America (99%, FOB) price – a region which accounts for 68% of global lithium carbonate production – has increased from $11,500/tonne in June 2017 to a mid-point average of $15,750/tonne in Benchmark’s latest Lithium Price Assessment. (For full ranges see below).… Read more

Plight of the PRA and how Benchmark became the lithium industry’s reference price

Since its inception in 2014, the rise of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence as the lithium industry’s reference price has been the ideal case study for how the commodities publishing industry is changing.
Scandals such as libor and credit ratings fixes have brought scrutiny (and with it a police raid) on commodity price publishers. This has resulted in new stamps of approval such as IOSCO certification, something that is alien to a lithium industry undergoing an evolution in demand.
Here we outline how the price assessment industry is evolving and how trust is central to Benchmark’s lithium-focused approach that is cutting a new, more accurate and transparent path forward.
Read more

LG Chem / Huayou cobalt deal reshapes cathode landscape for electric vehicle batteries

Korean battery major LG Chem and China’s Huayou Cobalt have announced a huge deal to launch two plants that will have a significant bearing on the lithium ion battery industry’s cathode direction.

The partnership will see a 40,000 tpa lithium ion battery precursor plant and a 40,000 tpa cathode plant being constructed within China over the next 18 months. Both are being installed with a capacity expansion to 100,000 tpa each in mind.

It is the world’s most significant deal between a raw material miner and lithium ion battery manufacturer to date.… Read more


This morning in Asia, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence made the cover story of China’s largest read English-language title, China Daily.

The feature “Pole Position: From vehicle manufacturing and sales to battery production, China is racing ahead in the electric car industry” was written by industry journalist, Robert Blain, for China Daily, Asia Weekly.

It feature quotes from Benchmark‘s Managing Director, Simon Moores on China’s prominence in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, the impact of Tesla in the country, and the rising tide of lithium ion battery megafactories.… Read more

Graphite demand from lithium ion batteries to more than treble in 4 years

Demand for graphite (carbon) used as anode material in lithium ion batteries is set to increase by over 200% in the next four years as global cell production surges on the back of maturing pure electric vehicle demand and the inception of the utility storage market.

New data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts the anode market – which is nearly exclusively served by naturally sourced spherical graphite and synthetically produced graphite – to increase from 80,000 tpa in 2015 to at least 250,000 tpa by the end of 2020 while the market could be as large as 400,000 tpa in the most bullish of cases with no supply restrictions.… Read more

Chart: Flake graphite capacity utilisation drops below 50%

Weak flake graphite concentrate demand has forced global capacity utilisation under 50% for a second consecutive year.

Flake graphite is used primarily in the steel industry – in refractory bricks and as a recarburising agent – and as a feedstock for battery anodes. 

Although there was a marginal increase in production as a result of new supply coming online in Madagascar and the easing of environmental restrictions in China, falling demand from industrial markets kept output at low levels. 

China continued to lead the decline with a capacity utilisation rate of 37%. Read more

EV surge sees China top Japan as No.1 battery separator producer

China has overtaken Japan as the world’s leading producer of battery separators amid strong demand from lithium-ion batteries used in cars.

The country’s incredible surge in production of low emissions vehicles in 2015 has seen it overtake in the US as the leading producer with annual growth of 290% compared to 2014.

China is expected to top 250,000 vehicles by the time the numbers are published in January 2016, with the US market due to reach 180,000 this year.

As a result, it is unsurprising that demand for key components that make an automotive lithium-ion battery have also surged.… Read more