BEIJING, May 14 (Reuters) -
* China’s northwestern province of Qinghai exported its first batch of lithium metal, produced by local firm Jinkunlun Lithium, the provincial government said on its website on Thursday.
* In a report, the official Qinghai Daily said the customs had cleared the lithium on Wednesday and the metal was bound for Japan, but did not name the buyer or specify the tonnage involved.
* “Now we have to strike while the iron is hot, actively expand exports and strive to achieve the goal of exporting 100 tonnes as soon as possible,” the paper quoted Jinkunlun general manager Pang Quanshi as saying.
* Prices for lithium metal SMM-MIN-LTM, used in anodes of electric vehicle batteries, crashed more than 27% last year because of oversupply, and dropped a further 6.8% this year as the coronavirus crisis choked demand.
* Landlocked Qinghai lies on the northeastern part of the Tibetan plateau and is home to lithium-rich brines in salt lakes. (Reporting by Tom Daly, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)