Chinese Carmaker BYD Eyes Chilean Lithium Deals in Search for EV Fuel – by James Attwood, Yvonne Yue Li and Danny Lee (Bloomberg News – December 6, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Chinese electric-car juggernaut BYD Co. is looking to get into the lithium business in Latin America and Africa after prices of the key battery component surged to “unreasonable” and “not healthy” levels.

BYD is scouring the world for lithium supplies, Executive Vice President Stella Li said in an interview Tuesday. In Chile, it’s in talks to enter into a mining project and is applying for permits to process the raw material into cathode for batteries. The automaker is also looking to invest in African lithium projects, although it’s detected infrastructure shortfalls there.

“We are now globally searching any opportunity,” Li said from Santiago, where she’ll cut the ribbon on Chile’s first EV dealership. “So Africa and and Chile and also Argentina. Every country that has lithium reserves, we’d like to participate in to reserve for the future.”

While makers of EVs and rechargeable batteries are reaping the benefits of surging demand in the shift away from fossil fuels, they are also facing tight markets for raw materials like lithium and copper. In a bid to lock in future supplies, they’ve started to fund mining and processing projects.

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