Tsingshan to build $1.6 bln lithium battery plant in southern China

BEIJING, April 1 (Reuters) - Chinese nickel and stainless steel giant Tsingshan Holding Group said on Thursday it will invest 10.3 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Guangdong province, which will be operated by the group’s battery unit.

Tsingshan’s battery manufacturing unit REPT Energy Co aims to expand its annual production capacity for lithium batteries from 6 gigawatt currently to 200 gigawatt capacity by 2025 and the new plant in Foshan city will be part of that expansion, the group said.

The plant will have an expected annual capacity of 30 gigawatt when it is completed in 2024, Tsingshan said in a statement.

The first phase of construction, to build capacity of 15 gigawatt a year, is expected to begin in mid-2021 with operations due to start in 2023, the company said.

The second will begin in 2022 and start operations two years later, according to the statement.

The project aims to meet demand for lithium-ion battery power and storage in southern China and contribute to China’s development of new energies, Tsingshan said.

Tsingshan is the world’s top stainless steelmaker and biggest nickel producer in Indonesia. It has teamed up with Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group to invest in a new energy vehicle project in east China.

$1 = 6.5738 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; Editing by Susan Fenton