China's largest lithium extraction project, which is undertaken by QingHai Salt Lake Industry Co in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, has commenced trial operations, China News Services reported on Tuesday. The project is estimated to generate 20,000 tons of battery grade lithium carbonate annually.
The extracting plant is located near Qarhan Salt Lake in Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai. The project was announced in December 2017 with construction beginning on April 2018. Total investment has reached 3.132 billion yuan ($483.23 million).
The maximum annual capacity of the project can reach 20,000 tons of battery grade lithium carbonate and 30,000 tons of general lithium carbonate in total. The capacity of current trial production operation is limited to 10,000 tons of general lithium carbonate per year, said the report.
Experts said that during trial operation, lithium extraction techniques had matched that of global leading extraction facilities, marking a crucial development in China's ability to build an advanced salt lake industry base.
Qarhan Salt Lake covers area of 5,856 square kilometers and is estimated to hold around 60 billion tons of valuable natural resources. It has abundant reserves of potassium chloride and lithium chloride.