Ganfeng Lithium’s global expansion continues

Business & Technology

China's Ganfeng Lithium accounts for 24% of global output of lithium hydroxide — a key component in lithium-ion batteries — which is a significant jump from 18% the previous year.

ganfeng lithium mahong factory
Ganfeng Lithium's Mahong Factory in Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province. Photo via ganfenglithium.com.

A company that deserves to be on everyone’s radar next year is Ganfeng Lithium, one of China’s biggest lithium battery mining and processing companies.

Ganfeng has announced plans to double production by 2025, and has been snapping up lithium mines and salt lakes — where lithium accumulates — all year to match global demand for electric vehicles.

  • In October, Ganfeng took full ownership of Argentina-based Litio Minera, which owns a salt lake project in the country, turning it into a wholly owned subsidiary.
  • In May, it reached a $250 million deal to raise its stake in U.K.-based Bacanora Lithium, owner of the Sonora project in Mexico, from 29% to 100%.
  • In June, it announced plans to spend $130 million for a stake in a lithium mine in Mali, and a month later, Ganfeng paid $278 million for Canada’s Millennial Lithium.

Ganfeng accounts for 24% of global output of lithium hydroxide — a key component in lithium-ion batteries — which is a significant jump from 18% the previous year. The top five battery producers in the world are split between the U.S. and China.

  • Ganfeng signed supply deals with Tesla in 2018 and Volkswagen in 2019.
  • The company is now moving downstream from material supplier to battery producer. That means it’ll have to contend with its dominant peer competitor CATL.
  • The company is setting up a plant in its home city of Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, in 2023. Analysts predict it will begin to manufacture solid-state batteries, said to be the next generation of lithium-ion batteries.

However, Ganfeng has faced resistance this year amid its global buying spree, a sign that geopolitics matter. The purchase of Bacanora in Mexico stalled after the Mexican president proposed a constitutional amendment to nationalize lithium production.

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