Yale Reveals the Transport Mechanism of Water and Solvent in Reverse Osmosis Membranes, Disrupting Traditional Solution Diffusion Theory

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The lithium resource reserves in salt lakes are large, but the level of development is low, and the resource endowment is uneven. Technological progress is the core driving force for the innovation of the lithium extraction industry in salt lakes. The technology of extracting lithium from Qinghai salt lake has basically reached the leading level in China and even in the world. It is promoting the development of Qinghai salt lake industry in the direction of larger scale, better quality and higher efficiency, and is expected to spill over to Xizang and overseas, bringing opportunities for efficient development of local high-quality salt lake resources.

Meeting the increasing demand for millions of tons of lithium and increasing the development of salt lake resources will be the trend. Under the trend of global automobile electrification, we expect global lithium demand to increase from 430000 tons in 2021 to 1.54 million tons of LCE in 2025, with a CAGR of 38%. From 2021 to 2025, lithium supply and demand are expected to gradually become tense. Salt lake resources have the advantages of large reserves and low lithium extraction costs, which are of great significance for ensuring the global supply of lithium resources. For domestic lithium resources, the external dependence of domestic lithium resources reached 74% in 2020, and the proportion of salt lake lithium reserves in domestic lithium resources reached 79%. In the context of building a closed-loop lithium battery industry in various countries around the world, the development of salt lakes has high strategic significance for ensuring the supply security of domestic lithium resources.

The lithium extraction technology of Qinghai Salt Lake has basically reached the leading level in China and even globally, and future technological progress will still be the core driving force for the development of Qinghai Salt Lake. The lithium resource reserves in Qinghai Salt Lake are leading domestically, but the resource endowment is not superior. After long-term development and practice, the lithium extraction process of the main salt lakes in Qinghai has been basically stable, and there is room to continue expanding production capacity. We believe that future technological progress will continue to be the core driving force for the development of Qinghai Salt Lake. With the advancement of technologies such as lithium extraction from raw brine and one-step production of lithium hydroxide, Qinghai Salt Lake is expected to further upgrade from front-end lithium extraction to back-end products.

The technology of extracting lithium in Xizang has overflowed, and the salt lakes in Tibet are expected to usher in an inflection point of accelerated development. Xizang's salt lakes are endowed with unique resources, but constrained by the natural environment and infrastructure conditions, the early development of Xizang's salt lakes is relatively lagging behind. It is worth mentioning that at present, the strategic significance of Xizang's salt lake resource development is improving, and the infrastructure such as transportation and electricity is gradually improving. We believe that the advantageous lithium extraction technology cultivated by inferior resources in Xizang is also expected to remove the shackles of traditional technology for the development of salt lakes in Tibet, and activate its vast resource development potential.

Chinese enterprises carry technology to "go global" and empower high-quality overseas resources. The "lithium triangle" salt lakes in South America are rich in resources and have excellent endowments, but not all salt lakes are suitable for traditional sedimentation methods. There are still a large number of potential salt lake resources that have not been fully developed. Over the years, Chinese enterprises have iterated advanced lithium extraction technology and rich project experience in adapting measures to local conditions in developing salt lake resources with low endowment. We believe that Ganfeng Lithium, Xizang Everest and other lithium industry companies, lithium extraction technology providers, and even mining leaders in traditional fields are expected to carry lithium technology "out", further extend the resource map to overseas salt lakes, and open up broader development space.



Chart 1: Lithium Demand CAGR by Sector, 2021-2025



Figure 2: Global Lithium Demand from 2021 to 2025


The total amount of global lithium resources is not scarce, but their distribution is uneven and there are relatively limited economically exploitable projects.According to USGS, the total global lithium resources are 86 million metal tons (approximately 458 million tons in LCE), and in the future, with the deepening of exploration, lithium resource reserves are expected to continue to increase. However, the global distribution of lithium resources is not uniform and highly concentrated, and salt lakes in South America are; Lithium Triangle; And Australian lithium mines together account for 65% of global lithium resource reserves. Considering the resource endowment and infrastructure construction of specific lithium resource projects, high-quality lithium resource projects that are economically and easily exploitable are even more limited.




Figure 3: The world's proven physical resources are mainly composed of salt lake brine types


We believe that the future demand for lithium in the industry is expected to increase by millions of tons, and lithium resources such as hard rock lithium mines, salt lakes, and clay should complement each other and have their own priorities. Among them, salt lake resources have advantages in reserve scale and cost, and it is necessary to increase the development of lithium resources in salt lakes



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