The Battery Metal Really Worrying China is Lithium, Not Nickel

An aerial view showing a specialised barge sitting on a salt lake retention pond while pumping residuals on the bottom of the pond to nearby storage facilities in Golmud, China on 23 July, 2018. Operated by the Qinghai Salt Lake Group, the salt lake is an abundant source of minerals such as Potassium, Magnesium, and Litiuhm.  Photographer: Qilai Shen

Nickel has captured much of the limelight among battery metals in recent weeks, and understandably so. Wild price swings, including an unprecedented 250% advance over two trading sessions amid a short squeeze, and concerns tied to Russia’s role as a key supplier have added to longstanding worries among automakers about securing enough of the material.

Even so, it’s another metal that’s been causing concern in the world’s largest electric vehicle market. 

China’s government last month hauled in a whole range of market players for two days of talks focused on halting a breakneck run-up in lithium, the metal that’s vital for almost all rechargeable batteries and critical to the roll-out of emissions-free cars and clean energy.

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