Purchase of Lithea comes as global competition for metals needed to power electric vehicles hots up
Ganfeng Lithium has agreed to buy Argentina-focused mining group Lithea for up to $962mn, as China steps up its battle for the metals needed to power electric vehicles.
The deal will give Shenzhen-listed Ganfeng rights to Pozuelos and Paston Grandes, two salt lake brines in Argentina that can produce lithium carbonate, a key material for batteries used in electric vehicles.
The acquisition comes amid a fierce debate over whether carmakers will face a shortage of lithium in coming years as the transition from combustion engines to battery-powered electric ones accelerates. The price of lithium carbonate has surged fourfold over the past 12 months, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
In May, Goldman Sachs analysts called the “end of the beginning” for the bull market in metals used in batteries, saying an “outsized” response from lithium producers would drive down prices for the next two years.
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