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lithium nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NCM)

Materials firm to make LFP and NCM lithium-ion battery materials as it boosts output in China

Wed, 10/13/2021 - 15:28 -- Paul Crompton

Battery materials firm GEM is preparing to build a lithium nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) precursor production facility in China.

The Chinese firm plans to invest 2.8 billion yuan ($431million) to build the complex in Jingmen city, central China's Hubei province, to meet its 2030 carbon-neutrality targets.

It is the first time GEM has added LFP and LFP precursor to its product portfolio.

Products from the facility will be ready for sale in the first quarter of next year with 50,000 t/yr of nickel metal equivalent and 5,000 t/yr of cobalt metal equivalent. 

The planned plant will have a 80,000t/yr capacity for ultra-high nickel NCM precursors, 50,000 t/yr for LFP, 100,000t/yr for iron phosphate, 15,000t/yr for high-purity lithium carbonate and 20,000t/yr for high-purity manganese sulphate, as well as an integrated solid waste disposal unit.

Further details including the construction schedules and launch dates were undisclosed, reported news outlet Argus Media.

The company's key products include NCM ternary precursors, cobalt tetroxide (16,000 t/yr), cobalt powder and cobalt metal (3,000 t/yr), as well as lithium cobalt oxide (LCO).

GEM's NCM precursors are mainly sold to South Korea's Samsung SDI, Ecopro BM, China's XTC New Energy Materials (Xiamen Tungsten), Brunp and Rongbay. 

The firm's feedstock comes from Switzerland-based Glencore through long-term contracts, and has invested in a high-pressure acid leaching project in Indonesia to produce mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate, in partnership with key NCM precursor and NCM manufacturer Brunp and major domestic steelmaker Tsingshan. 

GEM also recycles cobalt/nickel/lithium scrap into raw material.

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