(Yicai Global) Jan. 29 -- Northwest China's Qinghai province will promote the development of salt lake resources as a national strategy this year, state-backed online media outlet The Paper quoted Governor Wang Jianjun as saying.
Qinghai will also support BYD Co.'s lithium battery project and other schemes, Wang said in a meeting on Jan. 25.
Qinghai has mineral resources with a potential value of CNY104.6 trillion (USD16.6 trillion), the Land and Resources Department of Qinghai Province said last January. Among them are 11 kinds of salt lake minerals such as sodium salt, Glauber's salt, lithium ore, potassium salt and magnesium salt. They may be worth CNY99.2 trillion, accounting for 95 percent of the value of Qinghai's mineral resources.
The price of lithium carbonate, as a core raw material in the lithium battery industry, nearly quintupled in three years. Qinghai has over 60 percent of the world's lithium reserves. It has been boosting the development and utilization of salt lake lithium resources and trying to create a industry base with hundreds of billions of yuan.
Qinghai plans to focus on stabilizing industrial growth this year, Wang said. The province will make use of new technologies, processes, materials and equipment to transform and upgrade the salt lake chemical industry, non-ferrous metallurgy, the energy and chemical industry, building materials, and the textile industry to promote the development of salt lake resources as a national strategy, Wang said.
Qinghai will work to advance lithium extraction technologies, establish a lithium battery center and research institutes, and provide support for the industry's development.
BYD and other lithium battery makers are expected to have a production capacity of 60 gigawatt hours by 2025.
Amperex Technology Ltd., which is preparing to list, set up a subsidiary in Qinghai's capital of Xining in 2012 and planned to invest CNY7.5 billion to build a lithium battery and energy storage project base with an annual production capacity of 5 gigawatt hours.