How about the future development trends of lithium, cobalt, and nickel?
In recent years, with the green and low-carbon transformation of energy in various countries, as well as the vigorous development of high-tech, new materials, and new energy industries, the demand structure for mineral products has undergone significant changes. Key metals for batteries, represented by lithium, cobalt, and nickel, have become the focus of attention in various countries.
While the global exploration budget for key metal resources for batteries continues to grow, the development potential of related resources in Africa has also received widespread attention, especially the development of lithium resources in Africa.
Africa has considerable reserves of lithium ore resources, and the development of spodumene ore resources in Africa is a new growth point in the future and a new field that Chinese enterprises can enter. Canada and the African region are the two major supply stars of lithium ore resources. Especially in Africa, a batch of projects will be put into production in the next 3-4 years. It is expected that the production of lithium mines in the African region will increase by 300% year-on-year in 2023, and there will be 100 lithium project operations in the African region by 2025.
Indonesia may become the world’s largest battery grade nickel smelting market, while China may become the world’s largest cobalt mining company. In the next few years, what is the development trend of the market for key metal resources for batteries, and both supply and demand will show rapid growth.
With the rapid penetration of the electric vehicle industry, it is expected that 16 lithium projects will be put into operation globally from 2023 to 2024, bringing approximately 567000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent production capacity to the market. Among them, 10 are hard rock projects, accounting for approximately 80% of the expected increase in production capacity. It is expected that 7 projects will be launched in 2023. It is expected that in 2-3 years, Indonesia will become the world’s largest smelting market for battery grade nickel, and the only market among the four main materials of lithium, cobalt, graphite, and nickel that surpasses China as the fastest intermediate processing market. In addition, based on the investment layout of Chinese enterprises in cobalt mining, from the perspective of equity and equity ratio, it is expected that China will become the world’s largest cobalt mining party in the future.
During the “14th Five Year Plan” or “15th Five Year Plan” period, the consumption of most strategic minerals such as copper and aluminum will continue to grow, and the demand for strategic minerals needed for the development of clean energy such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel will continue to grow rapidly. It is expected that by 2025, stainless steel will still be the largest consumer of nickel, accounting for approximately 64% of the total consumption; Secondly, batteries will increase consumption by approximately 18%; Other alloys and electroplating are in single digits. Based on the consumption structure characteristics of nickel, it is expected that in the future, the nickel market will not easily form unilateral market trends similar to lithium, cobalt, and others that benefit from the rapid development of the battery industry.
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