With global sales of new energy vehicles hitting new highs, the price of lithium, a rare metal used in battery raw materials, has soared. In response to the soaring price of lithium, Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is rumored to have found six lithium mines in Africa and has reached acquisition agreements. The mines are expected to meet its battery demand for the next 10 years.
According to sources, BYD internally estimated that the ore of the six lithium mines with a lithium oxide grade of 2.5% reached more than 25 million tons, which can be converted into 1 million tons of lithium carbonate. If all the above-mentioned ore is mined, it is estimated that it will be able to meet the power battery demand of 27.78 million pure electric vehicles and, in terms of cost, the price per ton of lithium carbonate will be less than RMB200,000 (about NT$860,000).
A research report by China’s Soochow Securities pointed out that lithium iron phosphate batteries and ternary lithium batteries use an average of about 600 tons of lithium carbonate per 1 million kilowatt-hours (GWh). The lithium carbonate required for a pure electric car is about 36 kg.
BYD's sales target for this year is 1.5 million vehicles. If calculated based on this, BYD's acquisition of six lithium mines means that it can meet the demand for batteries for the next 10 years and sources say that a number of these six lithium mines will be sold next month. It is estimated that lithium for some of these mines will be available for BYD's blade battery in the third quarter.