October 16, 2019 / 1:05 PM / a month ago

China lead producer Yuguang eyes move into battery manufacturing

KUNMING, China (Reuters) - Henan Yuguang Gold and Lead (600531.SS), China’s largest lead producer, plans to set up a lead-acid battery production line as part of a downstream expansion, a company official said on Wednesday.

Yuguang, based in central China’s Henan province, has not yet decided on a capacity or location for the plant as the plans are still being studied, deputy chief engineer Li Gui said on the sidelines of the China Lead and Zinc Conference in Kunming.

The move would allow Yuguang to tap demand for rechargeable lead-acid batteries from China’s automotive market, the world’s largest, including for electric vehicles, where lead batteries are competing for market share with lithium-ion batteries.

Yuguang has not previously made batteries but the company does have 160,000 tonnes of lead recycling capacity that can process spent batteries. This capacity will be upgraded by April or May next year, Li said.

The company also plans to set up 67 lead-acid battery collection and storage stations in six Chinese provinces, including Henan, Shaanxi and Shanxi, to form a social recycling network, Li said in a presentation to the conference.

Around 10 are already in operation.

“We want to gradually form a perfect secondary recycling usage industrial chain,” Li said.

China’s environment ministry in January said it aimed to raise the collection rate of lead-acid batteries for recycling to 70% by 2025, from an estimate below 30% in 2017.

The ministry said preferential tax policies would be offered to firms that produce recycled lead from waste batteries.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Dale Hudson

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