The plight of power lithium battery companies -Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment

Power lithium battery companies are in trouble -Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment

Cobalt is a necessary metal raw material for the manufacture of new batteries. In recent years, with the development of the power vehicle industry, the supply of cobalt, an important raw material for power source ternary batteries, continues to be tight. According to statistics, since the end of 2015, the domestic metal cobalt price has shown a fluctuating upward trend as a whole, with an increase of more than 230%. The recent average price of cobalt has reached 587,800 yuan / ton, and the price has broken through the high point of nearly 10 years.

Raw materials are heavily dependent on imports, and the oligopoly effect continues to be prominent. The total global cobalt reserves are extremely unbalanced. Congo (Kinshasa) accounts for 54% of the total reserves, while China's reserves are only 1.11%. Among them, the hard-to-mine copper and nickel associated minerals are the main ones, and the independent ore-forming cobalt minerals only account for the national reserves 4.7% of reserves. my country is a cobalt-poor country, but it is the world's largest cobalt demander. In 2017, my country's cobalt demand accounted for about 45% of the world's cobalt demand. The huge gap between supply and demand makes my country rely on imports for more than 90% of cobalt, of which 84% are imported from Congo (DRC). The high concentration of production capacity has led to the fact that the global cobalt resources are basically monopolized by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On January 27, the Congolese (DRC) parliament passed a new draft mining law. Because cobalt is classified as a strategic metal, the patent tax will be increased from 2% to 5%. After the tax hike, it may further push up the domestic cobalt market price.(Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment)

Downstream demand grew strongly and the imbalance between supply and demand continued to increase. Data show that in 2017, the global cobalt supply was 108,000 tons, and the demand was 113,000 tons, with a gap of 4,820 tons. The power vehicle ternary battery is the core source of driving force for cobalt demand. In recent years, the rapid development of the power vehicle industry has directly broken the cobalt supply and demand balance. Taking my country as an example, the domestic power vehicle production reached 794,000 in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 53.8%, and is expected to reach 2 million by 2020. At the same time, lithium batteries for smartphones are also the main downstream application terminals of cobalt. According to Bloomberg statistics, about a quarter of the world's cobalt mine production is used in smartphones. With the advent of the 5G era, the demand for cobalt in lithium batteries for smartphones is also expected to grow steadily. In addition, the demand for cobalt in various fields such as cemented carbide, superalloy, and mobile power has grown steadily. According to industry insiders, the global demand for cobalt in 2020 will reach about 150,000 tons. Although global demand is expanding rapidly, due to political risks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, backward infrastructure and other reasons, its mainstream mines are limited in increments, and their production capacity cannot be released quickly. It is expected that by 2020, the global cobalt supply shortage will expand to 10,000 to 20,000 tons.

Relevant industries have accelerated the restructuring, and the technical threshold has been forced to increase. The skyrocketing cobalt price has a direct impact on the operation of downstream battery companies. Battery manufacturers have to find other ways to reduce their dependence on cobalt. One industry trend is to increase the proportion of nickel, thereby reducing the proportion of cobalt. At present, the domestic power battery ternary cathode material market is dominated by NCM523 (nickel-cobalt-manganese ratio of 5:2:3), accounting for 76%, and the hot spot of international market competition has turned to the high-nickel system NCM811 material. According to South Korea's SKI battery company, the company has put the NCM811 into mass production. According to the report, Tesla's current nickel-cobalt-manganese application ratio is 8:1:1, and it is cooperating with Panasonic to increase the use of nickel to 85%. Due to the high technical threshold and difficult production of high-nickel materials, higher requirements are placed on the scientific research capabilities and R&D investment of enterprises. Compared with Japanese and Korean companies, my country's NCM811 battery manufacturing has just started, and it is currently limited to cylindrical power battery manufacturers, while square and soft pack battery manufacturers are still in the safety testing stage. The environment of "up and down" caused by rising cobalt prices will force battery companies to pursue higher production technologies, and the living environment for some new entrants will be more difficult.



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