XINING - China's electric car maker BYD on Thursday signed a framework agreement to take part in lithium resource mining in Salt Lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
BYD signed the deal with the Qinghai Salk Lake Industry Group Co. Ltd. at the ongoing Qinghai Investment Trade Talk on Green Development.
Under the agreement, the partners will take two to three years to build a plant with annual output of 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate, a raw material for making lithium battery.
BYD is keen on exploring environmentally friendly battery technology.
The salt lake, which covers more than 5,000 square kilometers on the southern edge of the Qaidam Basin, boasts 14 million tonnes of lithium associated resources. Qinghai Province wants to establish an industry capable of churning out 200,000 tonnes materials of lithium carbonate from the lake annually.
With 48 percent of shares in the cooperation project, BYD will benefit from the fluctuation of the raw material and control its production cost.
Wang Chuanfu, president and founder of Shenzhen-based BYD, said that the growth in electric car sales has driven up the price of lithium batteries. The price of lithium carbonate rose from 40,000 yuan (US$6,084) per tonne to 150,000 yuan last year.