June 13, 2019 / 10:26 AM / 6 days ago

China's Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium restarts spodumene mine after 5 years

BEIJING, June 13 (Reuters) - Chinese lithium firm Youngy Co Ltd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium Co Ltd, resumed production at its spodumene - a hard-rock mineral used for lithium - mine on June 10, an official told Reuters on Thursday.

Strong demand from the country’s battery sector has prompted lithium producers to boost production over the past few years, in line with China’s fast-growing new energy vehicle (NEV) market.

Production at the spodumene mine had started in 2010, but was halted in early 2014, the official said. The current lithium mine reserves came in at 28.99 million tonnes.

The lithium project, situated in Ganzi in western province of Sichuan, is expected to produce about 30,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate this year, the official said requesting anonymity.

The company is expected to produce about 70,000 tonnes-80,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate when in full production in 2020, he added, without providing an outlook for the lithium market.

The Chinese government had previously expressed concerns about its overseas dependence for materials such as lithium, which is considered vital for strategic emerging industries such as rechargeable battery production.

Total lithium resources in 2018 were 62 million tonnes, according to U.S. Geological Survey.

The largest producers of lithium are Australia, Chile, China and Argentina. (Reporting by Shivani Singh and Beijing newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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