BEIJING, April 16 (Reuters) -
* The first phase of a 40,000-tonne per year battery cathode material project in southeast China’s Fujian province has been put into production, according to the local government.
* The 3.1 billion yuan ($462.07 million), three-phase project in Dongqiao is a joint venture between Xiamen Tungsten and Fujian Mindong Electric Power Co.
* It will be China’s largest plant for production of cathode materials for high nickel content lithium-ion batteries, the Dongqiao government said; the first phase has four production lines with annual capacity of 10,000 tonnes
* The electric vehicle (EV) sector is switching toward higher nickel content in nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries, which have greater storage capacity and allow for a longer driving range.
* Fujian is home to China’s top EV battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd Co Ltd (CATL)
* The Dongqiao project’s second phase is due to come on stream at the end of 2019, while the launch of the third phase is scheduled for June 2021. ($1 = 6.7090 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)