Over the past few years, Chinese companies have become some of the world’s largest producers of lithium, a lightweight metal that is a key material for batteries used in electric cars and mobile phones, said the Financial Times.
China produced over 60% of the world’s lithium in April, compared with less than 1% from the US, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
“If you look at the money that’s gone into lithium over the past few years, it is well over 50% Chinese,” said Joe Lowry, a lithium consultant who worked for FMC in Asia.
Lithium sells for more than $11,500 a ton and global demand is expected to double by 2023, according to Volkswagen. China’s dominance in the electric car supply chain has triggered growing concerns in a trade-war obsessed Washington and Brussels, with both fearing that they could be squeezed out of the next generation of industry, reported the FT.