Chengxin Lithium has applied for the rights to two lithium deposits in Ukraine that are up for auction, a Ukrainian government website showed, in a move that would give the Chinese company a foothold in the European lithium industry.
The bid underscores Shenzhen-based Chengxin’s ambitious overseas expansion plans. The company, which makes lithium chemicals for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, in September said it would build a lithium plant in Indonesia and is investing in mining projects in Argentina and Zimbabwe.
Chengxin has applied for the Shevchenkivske and Dobra deposits, a list of bids published online by the Ukrainian Geological Survey showed.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Shevchenkivske, in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, and Dobra in the central part of the country, have also caught the attention of European Lithium Ltd.
Australia-listed European Lithium said this month it would acquire Ukraine’s Petro Consulting on condition that the latter wins permits to extract and process lithium from the two deposits within a year.
Petro Consulting, which says the two sites can produce 15,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year, previously held a special permit for Shevchenkivske and had applied for a special permit for Dobra.
Competition for lithium assets around the world is heating up as prices for the battery ingredient have more than tripled this year on resurgent EV demand.
Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) was recently outbid by Lithium Americas Corp for Argentina-focused lithium miner Millennial Lithium Corp.
(By Tom Daly, Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Editing by Jason Neely)