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Aussie miner aims to power electric bikes

By Richard Fu (Shanghai Daily)

09:48, March 09, 2012

Australian miner Galaxy Resources Ltd is eying China's booming electric bicycle market as it opened an A$100 million (US$106 million) lithium carbonate plant in east China's Jiangsu Province.

The 17,000 ton-a-year Zhangjiagang plant, the largest of its kind in Asia-Pacific, will use lithium concentrate from Galaxy's Mt Cattlin mine in Western Australia and process it further to produce high-grade lithium carbonate for the lithium-ion batteries to power the electric bikes.

In an interview Iggy Tan, the managing director, said Galaxy plans to move further up the value chain by setting up a battery-making facility nearby, and the opening of the plant on Wednesday marked a key step in the firm becoming an integrated company from mining to processing in the lithium supply chain.

Tan said the proposed battery plant will make products for electric bikes because of the potential huge growth. He also sees rising demand for lithium battery in the long run as electric vehicles start to take off.

About 30 million electric bikes were made last year in China, and over 90 percent of the cells being produced for electric bikes are lead-based.

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