BEIJING (Reuters) – Jinchuan Group [JCHRP.UL], China’s top nickel producer, will next year start building a new project in Guangxi that will produce raw materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, its chairman said, looking to tap the sector’s “explosive” demand.
The project, in the southern port city of Fangchenggang, where Jinchuan already smelts copper and nickel, will have annual production of 30,000 tonnes of nickel and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt by 2020, Wang Yongqian said in an emailed Q&A with Reuters.
The company’s three main metals “are all raw materials for electric cars,” Wang said, forecasting “explosive growth” in EVs in China over the next five-10 years. Wang was in Beijing this week to attend the 19th Communist Party congress.
“We really feel the decline of momentum in traditional industries. At the same time, we deeply feel…the strategic transformation brought by the new economy,” he said, describing the EV revolution as a “turning point” for Jinchuan that would have a “far-reaching” impact on the company, based in Gansu in northwest China.
By 2025, it is expected that China’s nickel demand from the EV sector will increase to 150,000 tonnes, Wang said, without providing a current demand figure. For cobalt it will grow fivefold to 30,000 tonnes, he added.