Industry sources estimate China will only permit about 20 battery recyclers to operate in the near future, as opposed to the many hundreds of firms presently in operation. According to Cao Guoqing, vice general secretary of the China Battery Industry Association, “The government will do it for sure in the future.” He did not say when the regulations were likely to be implemented. These regulations attempt to improve environmental regulations in the battery industry, the main user of refined lead in China.
China is the world’s largest producer and user of refined lead. Cao estimated that by 2015, China’s production of lead-acid batteries will reach 240 million kilowatt hours, which is twice 2009 levels. China used 2.35 million tons of refined lead for lead-acid battery production in 2009. This used about 70 percent of china’s total refined lead consumption in 2009, he said.