Inner Mongolia is expected to have nine new lithium battery supply chain projects by the end of 2025, according to the local ministry of industry and information technology.

The integrated project will be built at the Weilasituo polymetallic lithium mine located in Keshiketeng Banner. The statement by the autonomous region ministry estimates total investment to reach CNY 22 billion ($3 billion), Kallanish notes.

After reaching full production in 2025, the developments will produce 50,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate (lithium carbonate equivalent), 520,000 t/y of lithium iron phosphate cathode materials, 1.76 t/y of anode materials, and 30,000 t/y of electrolytes. The production capacity also includes 1.5 billion square metres of separators and 29 gigawatt-hours of batteries. 

The upstream project will have capacity to mine 8,000 tonnes/day of lithium ore. According to the ministry, it can realise an annual output value of over CNY 2.3 billion, CNY 1.1 billion in net profit, and CNY 900 million in tax income.

The midstream, lithium refinery project will mainly produce lithium carbonate. The planned annual production capacity is 40,000 t, with a total investment of CNY 2 billion. After the project is completed, developers expect it to generate an annual output value of CNY 10 billion and a tax revenue of CNY 600 million.

The remaining seven projects are downstream. In addition to materials such as lithium salts, cathode and anode materials, they also include cell and pack manufacturing, the development of energy storage stations, and charging and battery swapping stations.

The local government claims the Weilasituo mine is the world’s largest lepidolite mine and Asia’s largest hard rock lithium mine. The total ore volume is estimated at around 550m t, and the reserve of lithium oxide is about 2.6m t.