Perth-based lithium company Galaxy Resources has completed its third shipment of spodumene to China to be used as start up feedstock for its Jiangsu lithium carbonate project.

The 31,000 tonne shipment sailed from Western Australia’s Bunbury Port to Jiangsu, China on Christmas Eve. Chinese contractors will unload the spodumene and take it to the nearby plant site.

Galaxy’s managing director Iggy Tan says the efficiency of the port’s nearby unloading conveyor system was a crucial factor in the company’s decision to construct its factory at that location.

“This is a clear advantage over the current Chinese lithium carbonate producers who are generally inland and have to transport their spodumene feedstock across the country before processing into lithium carbonate product,” he says.

The Jiangsu lithium carbonate plant is in the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park, northwest of Shanghai. The industrial estate hosts more than 3300 companies including Dupont, Sumitomo and Vopak.

Galaxy plans to ship up to 137,000 tonnes of concentrated spodumene from its Mt Cattlin project near Ravensthorpe in Western Australia to the Jiangsu plant every year. The Zhangjiagang port is less than 500 metres from the plant. The spodumene will then be produced into about 17,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate each year, making it the fourth largest producer in the world.

Lithium compounds are used in the manufacture of ceramics, glass, electronics and are an essential cathode material for long life lithium-ion batteries used to power e-bikes and hybrid and electric vehicles.