China’s Easpring to invest in lithium (manganese) iron phosphate for electric vehicle batteries

Chinese battery cathode materials producer Beijing Easpring plans to establish a lithium (manganese) iron phosphate (L(M)FP) project together with its compatriot, Sichuan Shudao New Material Technology Group Co

The project is designed with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year (tpy), and total investment for the project is expected to be 7 billion yuan ($996.2 million). Production at the project is expected to commence before December 31, 2028, but the schedule is subject to market demand, Beijing Easpring said.

The two companies may also construct another L(M)FP project with capacity of 200,000 tpy in the long run, subject to market conditions and the companies’ decision, Beijing Easpring said.

Manganese sulfate is currently overlooked by the market due to its sufficient supply and lower prices compared with prices of other battery metals, such as cobalt, nickel, and especially lithium. Demand for manganese sulfate has also been low, following Covid-19-related lockdowns in the East Asian country, with some saying that it could take one or two years for prices to recover, market participants told Fastmarkets earlier this year.

But if LMFP batteries were to be adopted in the mainstream electric vehicle (EV) industry when their performance and lifetime are able to meet EV requirements, manganese sulfate demand could see a boom, since LMFP batteries contain more manganese than the typical nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries.

Fastmarkets assessed the price of manganese sulfate, 32% Mn min, battery grade, exw mainland China, at 6,200-6,500 yuan ($882-925) per tonne on December 1, unchanged since August 25. This compares with 9,000-10,000 yuan per tonne in March of this year, when the price was initially tracked.

Lithium prices in China soared this year since supply failed to meet the surging demand from the EV sector.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range, exw domestic China was 570,000-585,000 yuan per tonne on December 1, narrowing downward by 5,000 yuan per tonne from 570,000-590,000 yuan per tonne a week earlier, but up by 83.33% from 300,000-330,000 yuan per tonne on January 6.

Fastmarkets seeks to provide more transparency in this growing sector, having launched its price assessment of manganese sulfate 32% Manganese min, battery grade, exw Mainland China, which is assessed weekly on Thursdays from September 1.

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights in the lithium and manganese markets with our dedicated market pages.

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