China blocks the mineral crucial to battery production

Graphite is used in the production of lithium-ion batteries such as those produced at Northvolt.
Graphite is used in the production of lithium-ion batteries such as those produced at Northvolt.

Since 2020 China has blocked in principle all its export of graphite to Sweden according to an article in The Economist. The mineral is used in the production of lithium-ion batteries such as those produced at Northvolt’s factory in Skellefteå.

Skellefteå 30 juni 2023 09:00

The reason for the blockade is unclear but according to the article in the Economist the dispute regarding the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai could be a possible reason. 

There is no formal Chinese ban that prevents companies from exporting graphite to Sweden. According to The Economist the blockade is instead of a more informal nature. According to the paper, a company that exports graphite found out that Chinese authorities no longer granted licences to export the mineral to Sweden. Since 2020 China’s export to Sweden of two different types of graphite has been completely blocked. 

Even though China’s export of graphite to Sweden has gone down, China’s investments in battery and electric vehicle production has gone up in other parts of Europe. The Economist writes that China’s largest battery producer, the company CATL, invested eight billion dollars in a factory in Hungary last year and that in 2020 Hungary imported graphite at a value of over 230 million dollars.

China produces more than 60 per cent of all natural graphite in the world and a large part of the synthetic. According to The Economist it is unclear whether China’s graphite blockade can affect Northvolt’s production of lithium-ion batteries but it is assessed as something that can increase the factory’s expenses.                                        


 
 
 
 
 
 
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