BYD in talks over lithium exploration in Brazil

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The automotive subsidiary of the Chinese multinational BYD Co Ltd, BYD Auto, is evaluating the possibility of investing in the Brazilian mining sector through the Canadian mining company Sigma Lithium, in order to secure a new source of lithium, which is an essential raw material for the electric cars manufactured by BYD.

The Chinese automaker, considered by the Financial Times as Tesla’s main rival, announced plans to invest some US$612 million in an industrial complex located in the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, to manufacture electric vehicles, hence the importance of probing mining opportunities in the country, according to Raul Jungmann, president of the Brazilian mining chamber (Ibram).

According to Carlos Vald茅s, correspondent of the Chilean media Emol, the president of BYD’s Brazilian division, Alexandre Baldy, has already held conversations with the executive director of Sigma, Ana Cabral Gardner, in Sao Paulo. However, the details of this conversation are not known.

In 2022, Sigma’s lithium deposit in Brazil was considered one of the most important for the coming years. Although the plant has taken a little longer than expected to exploit the mineral, the company already maintains high processing rates that have encouraged the possible agreement with BYD, according to Gonzalo Garcia, editor for the Spanish specialized media Hybrids and Electrics (HyE).

In addition, Jungmann, the president of Ibram, visited a BYD factory in Shenzhen, a technological center located in the Chinese province of Guangdong, where BYD representatives expressed their interest in the Brazilian mining sector, given its great potential to produce minerals that are key to the manufacture of LFP batteries, which they not only use for their own use, but also supply through commercial links with brands such as Tesla, Ford, Toyota and Kia.

BYD is not the only company interested in generating deals, buyouts or joint ventures with Sigma Lithium. According to exame’s most recent report, Volkswagen Automotive and Chinese technology company CATL are also interested, followed also by BYD’s main competitor, Tesla.

Main source:
BYD explores Brazil’s mining sector for access to lithium supplies. Emol (2024, January 15). https://www.emol.com/noticias/Autos/2024/01/15/1118704/byd-mineria-brasil-litio.html

Other sources:

G贸mara, J. (January 16, 2024) BYD wants to buy a lithium giant to expand its battery business. HyE. Retrieved from: https://www.hibridosyelectricos.com/coches/byd-acuerdo-sigma-lithium-baterias_72559_102.html

Chinese conglomerate BYD targets Brazilian mining sector (January 12, 2024) bnamericas. Retrieved from https://www.bnamericas.com/es/noticias/conglomerado-chino-byd-apunta-al-sector-minero-brasileno

Andr茅s Bello Foundation (November 4, 2023) China gains ground in the “lithium triangle” formed by Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. Retrieved from https://fundacionandresbello.org/noticias/latinoamerica-%f0%9f%8c%8e/china-gana-terreno-en-el-triangulo-del-litio-que-conforman-chile-bolivia-y-argentina/

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