Galaxy Resources has officially opened its Aus$100 million Jiangsu lithium carbonate plant in China’s Jiangsu province. The plant is the largest-capacity battery grade lithium carbonate production facility in the Asia Pacific region and is in the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone (FTZ). 1

The plant has annual capacity of 17,000 tonnes and is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. It is expected to achieve first production by the end of the month.

Around 400 delegates, including Australia’s Consul General in Shanghai Alice Cawte, the Zhangjiagang FTZ administrative committee, substantial shareholders Creat and Fengli groups, as well as offtake customers, attended the official opening.

The plant is now in its final stages of commissioning with the company’s lithium concentrate produced at its Mt Cattlin mine in Western Australia to be used as feedstock.

Galaxy’s Jiangsu plant has the capability to produce the highest-purity lithium carbonate, which is used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. The company has signed long term offtake agreements with 13 major cathode producers in China and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation for all of Jiangsu’s output.

The company’s chairman Craig Readhead says the commissioning of the Jiangsu plant marks an important step in Galaxy becoming an integrated lithium resource, chemical and battery company. “Galaxy’s plan has always been to add value to its business by creating downstream opportunities. In late 2010, Galaxy began construction of a lithium carbonate plant in China, which would use the lithium concentrate from Mt Cattlin and process it further to produce high-grade lithium carbonate for the lithium-ion battery sector.

“Today Galaxy is one step further to achieving its goal of being involved with every step of the lithium supply chain, from mining to manufacture of lithium products,” Craig Readhead says.

The company’s managing director Iggy Tan says he is particularly proud of Jiangsu’s exemplary safety record. “Galaxy staff and contractors spent 2 million man hours constructing and commissioning the Jiangsu plant. What I’m most proud of is that this was achieved without a single lost time injury.

“Galaxy is the first Australian resource company operating in the Zhangjiagang FTZ and I’d like to thank the Board Oversight Committee, which has given full support during the construction and commissioning of Jiangsu. “We are confident hot commissioning will be completed in time for us to commence lithium carbonate production at Jiangsu by the end of the current quarter,” Iggy Tan says.