Production resumes in China’s Yichun, ‘Asia’s lithium capital’, unlikely to affect supply chain, analysts say – by Yujie Xue (South China Morning Post – March 1, 2023)

Production has resumed in China’s Yichun, “Asia’s lithium capital”, after a government investigation into illegal mining activity last week temporarily halted production in the local lithium industry.

Some lepidolite mines restarted mining activity on Monday, according to Chinese media outlet Cailian. Soon after news of the production resumption emerged, the shares of leading lithium producers with mines in Yichun rose slightly on Tuesday. Shenzhen-listed Anshan Heavy Duty Mining Machinery, for instance, rose 2.25 per cent.

“The reasons for the quick approval for production resumption remain unclear,” said Dennies Ip and Leo Ho, analysts at Daiwa Capital Markets. Another production halt was, however, possible during China’s annual National People’s Congress in early March, they added.

Yichun, which is home to the world’s largest mine for lithium-bearing mineral lepidolite and has a reserve of 1.1 million tonnes of lithium oxide, represents 31 per cent of China’s recoverable lithium oxide output and 12 per cent of the world’s output, according to official data.

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