Home MarketsEurope & Middle East China played a great game with lithium and we were slow to respond: CEO

China played a great game with lithium and we were slow to respond: CEO

by SuperiorInvest

This March 2021 picture shows a worker with a car battery at a facility in China.

STR | AFP | Getty Images

China leads the way when it comes to lithium – and the rest of the world hasn’t been quick enough to respond to its dominance, says company CEO American Lithium.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday, Simon Clarke discussed how China secured its strong position in the industry.

“I just think the Chinese have — I mean, hats off to you, they played a great game,” he said.

“For decades, they’ve been shutting down some of the best assets around the world and quietly running their business, developing the knowledge of building lithium-ion technology, soup to nuts,” he added. “And we were very slow to respond to that.”

He added that the US Inflation Reduction Actand a number of other measures meant that people were “beginning to wake up”.

In addition to its use in cell phones, computers, tablets and a host of other gadgets synonymous with modern life, lithium — which some call “white gold” — is essential to the batteries that power electric vehicles.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

China is definitely the dominant force in this sector.

In his World Energy Outlook 2022 reportThe International Energy Agency said the country accounts for roughly 60% of the world’s supply of lithium chemicals. China also produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries, according to the IEA.

As demand for lithium grows, major economies are scrambling to shore up their own supplies and reduce dependence on other parts of the world, including China.

The stakes are high. In a translation of her State of the Union address in September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “lithium and rare earths will soon be more important than oil and gas”.

In addition to addressing security of supply, von der Leyen also emphasized the importance of processing.

“Today, China dominates the global manufacturing industry,” she said. “Nearly 90%… rare earths[s] and 60% of lithium is processed in China.”

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

With regard to the above, a number of companies in Europe are trying to develop projects aimed at securing supplies.

Paris-based mineral giant Imerysfor example, plans develop a lithium mining project in central France, while a facility described as the UK’s first major lithium refinery is is supposed to be located in the north of England.

Looking ahead, Clarke’s forecast for American Lithium continued geopolitical competition in the sector.

“There is a real initiative to wrest back some of the supply chain from … China,” he said.

“I think China is in such a dominant position, it’s going to be very difficult to do that. But … I think you’re starting to see that approach happening.”

Source Link

Related Posts

%d bloggers like this: