(Yicai Global) March 15 -- A lithium mine part owned by Jiangxi Special Electric Motor Co. (Jiangte) has entered operation in Australia to ensure the supply of raw materials for a project directly managed by the Chinese car and battery maker.
The Bald Hill mine in New South Wales, which is half-owned by Jiangte unit Tawana Resources NL, should deliver its first batch of lithium concentrate products next month, Western Australia-based Tawana said on its website.
Jiangxi Baojiang Lithium Ltd., a joint venture between Jiangte and trading firm Burwill Commodity Ltd., is currently building a factory to produce 10,000 tons of lithium carbonate and 5,000 tons of lithium hydroxide a year, and the plant which will rely on supplies from Bald Hill.
The two lithium-based products are basic materials used in lithium batteries, which gained popularity in smartphones but are now the top pick for powering electric vehicles. China is the world's largest market for both smartphones and new-energy vehicles, and has plans to rule out traditionally-fueled cars. It sold some 605,500 plug-in passenger cars last year to take a 49-percent of the global NEV market, growing 30 times faster than the worldwide average, data from industry researcher EV Volumes shows.