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New material intelligence NMT | hot spot | Argentina's lithium mine was shut down, and the salt lake giant was bearish by capital?


The overseas epidemic broke out. 50% of the supply of lithium resources came from lithium mines in Australia and 40% from salt lakes in South America. At present, Argentina has entered a compulsory quarantine state, and Argentine Salt Lake giants Livent and orocobre have suspended production.

On March 19, 2020, the Argentine government issued an emergency decree, ordering the implementation of national compulsory Quarantine from March 20, 2020 to March 31, 2020. After the promulgation of this decree, Argentine Salt Lake giant live & orocobre both announced that they had entered the production shutdown stage. In terms of the length of shutdown, Argentina plans to resume production at the end of March at the earliest by March 31; However, the core impact factor is the severity and degree of control of the epidemic in Argentina. With reference to the progress of domestic resumption of work, careful observation and tracking are needed. From the perspective of inventory, orocobre said that at present, the company has sufficient inventory, which can ensure the demand of existing customers until the end of April.

新材料情报NMT | 热点 | 阿根廷锂矿停产,盐湖巨头遭资本看空?

"The country with lithium wins the world", and understand the source of the lithium industry

Lithium (LI) is a silvery white metal element and the lightest alkali metal element. Lithium has a series of excellent characteristics, such as light weight, soft texture, high specific heat and high negative potential. It is widely used in the fields of air conditioning, medicine, agriculture, electronic technology, textile, metal welding and degassing. Due to the important strategic value of lithium, especially its application in the field of new energy in recent years, lithium is known as the energy metal of the "21st century".

Due to continuous exploration, lithium resources have increased significantly worldwide. According to the 2018 report of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the total proved global lithium resource reserves are more than 53 million tons, and the types of ancillary resources mainly include salt lake brine lithium, geothermal brine lithium, Lithium Montmorillonite lithium, oil field brine lithium and pegmatite lithium. Among them, the total lithium resources in the United States are about 6.8 million tons, and those in other countries are about 47 million tons, mainly including 9.8 million tons in Argentina, 9.0 million tons in Bolivia, 8.4 million tons in Chile, 7 million tons in China, 5 million tons in Australia, and 1.9 million tons in Canada.

Global production imbalance, lithium supply security has become a top priority

In terms of the distribution of global reserves, the current distribution of global lithium resources is highly concentrated. Chile's lithium reserves account for 51.83% of the world's total, China's 22.12%, Argentina's 13.82%, and Australia's 11.06%. The sum of the proven lithium reserves of the above four countries accounts for 99% of the world's total proved reserves, basically monopolizing the global lithium resources. The high concentration of global lithium resources is an objective reality that is difficult to change. This distribution directly leads to the increasingly fierce competition for the control of lithium resources by enterprises. On the other hand, it also leads to the high concentration of lithium production and supply. The prices of lithium carbonate and other products are easy to be controlled and manipulated by giant enterprises, which distorts the market regulation mechanism, causes the imbalance of resource flow, and is not conducive to the healthy development of downstream enterprises in the industrial chain.

新材料情报NMT | 热点 | 阿根廷锂矿停产,盐湖巨头遭资本看空?

Therefore, the safety of lithium supply has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia. Technology companies and exploration companies strengthen cooperation through alliances and joint ventures to ensure reliable and diversified lithium product supply for battery suppliers and automobile manufacturers. At present, lithium extraction from brine is mainly concentrated in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, China and the United States, while spodumene mining business is concentrated in Australia, Canada, China and Finland. The world continues to strengthen the exploration and development of lithium resources to ensure the global consumption demand and supply of lithium.

The industrial chain of lithium is mainly divided into three parts: upstream resource exploitation, midstream smelting and purification and downstream end consumption. Upstream lithium resources are mainly divided into solid and liquid. At present, solid lithium deposits are mainly pegmatite lithium deposits and sedimentary lithium deposits, while liquid lithium deposits refer to brine lithium deposits. Lithium products in the midstream are mainly lithium chloride, lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. After further purification and synthesis, various lithium deep-processing products can be obtained, which can be used in downstream consumer fields such as batteries and medicine.

The market environment caused by the epidemic is good for Chinese lithium enterprises

At present, China has controlled the epidemic faster than other countries, and domestic lithium salt enterprises are basically in normal production. Argentina's shutdown is still a short-term event. If the shutdown time is prolonged, it will be beneficial to Chinese lithium enterprises.

It is the market that determines the development of an industry. In China,lithium batteryLithium resource consumption accounts for a higher proportion in the field, reaching 51% as early as 2015, becoming the main downstream of lithium resources. Lithium inLithium batteryApplications in the pool field are mainly divided intoPower lithium battery, 3C lithium battery andEnergy storageLithium battery. Power lithium batteries are mainly used in new energy vehicles, electric bicycles and new energy special vehicles. 3C lithium batteries are mainly used in mobile phones, notebook computers, cameras and other electronic products. Energy storage lithium batteries are mainly used in power grid energy storage, base station backup power supply and other fields.

Among them,Electric vehicleThe long-term demand growth space is large, and lithium resources, as the upstream metal of electric vehicles, have benefited from this for a long time; Moreover, the lithium industry is highly concentrated, and the growth certainty of leading companies is strong. The current lithium price is in the bottom range, and the marginal cost is strongly supported. In the next five years, the lithium industry will benefit from the rapid development of new energy vehicles and energy storage lithium batteries. The annual compound growth rate of the lithium industry will reach 23%, and the compound growth rate of lithium hydroxide will reach 40%. There is a huge growth space.

新材料情报NMT | 热点 | 阿根廷锂矿停产,盐湖巨头遭资本看空?

In 2025, the sales volume of new energy vehicles in China is expected to reach 5million. Based on such a large market demand, it is expected that this round of epidemic will be a stress test for projects with high cost and high cash flow pressure, which is expected to accelerate the liquidation of the industry. It is very good for China's industry leaders.

Article source:OFweek lithium grid

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