Singapore | China’s lithium industry is reeling as its top production hub – responsible for about a 10th of the world’s supply – faces sweeping closures amid a government probe of environmental infringements.
The crackdown in Yichun, Jiangxi province, follows a local lithium frenzy over the past year as miners raced to feed rampant demand for the battery material – and to benefit from record global prices. Now, they grapple with a close-up inspection by environment officials from Beijing.
Ore-processing operations in Yichun have been ordered to stop as investigators probe alleged violations at lithium mines, Yicai newspaper reported. That threatens somewhere between 8 per cent and 13 per cent of global supply, analysts say, although it is unclear for how long the immediate shutdowns will last.
The probe in China injects a big dose of uncertainty into a lithium market that’s seeing prices cool – bringing some relief to EV manufacturers – as more global output emerges. Jiangxi province was expected to be a major source of extra supply, from a lithium-bearing mineral known as lepidolite.
For the rest of this article: https://www.afr.com/world/asia/china-lithium-probe-shuts-down-chunk-of-global-supply-20230228-p5co2f