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China's Shengtun buys cobalt salts producer Kelixin

11 Apr 2018 13:55 (+01:00 GMT)
China's Shengtun buys cobalt salts producer Kelixin

Beijing, 11 April (Argus) — Shengtun Mining Group will acquire Chinese cobalt material producer Zhuhai Kelixin to expand its production chain to meet growing demand for battery materials.

Shengtun will pay 1.2bn yuan ($191mn) to acquire 100pc of Kelixin, a large producer of cobalt tetroxide, cobalt oxide and cobalt salts in China with a total production capacity of 5,000 t/yr. Kelixin currently buys crude cobalt hydroxide and cobalt carbonate feedstock from Glencore, Umicore and VINE Metal.

Shengtun is developing a project in Dayu, Jiangxi province that will produce up to 10,000 t/yr of cobalt tetroxide and battery grade cobalt sulphate. The plant is due to come on line in 38 months.

Demand for battery materials in China is likely to continue rising sharply this year on growing output of electric vehicles. China produced 794,000 electric vehicles in 2017 and is on course to hit its target of 1mn this year.

Shengtun started cobalt mining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August 2016 in response to growing demand for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) lithium-ion ternary materials. It aims to launch a project to produce 10,000 t/yr of copper and 3,500 t/yr of crude cobalt hydroxide capacity in DRC in mid-2018.