The Chinese premier ended his visit to Australia with a tour of the lithium refinery

Lee and Albanese / Photo EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS

Chinese Premier Li Qiang ended a four-day visit to Australia today with a tour of a lithium refinery, an indication of Beijing's interest in the ore needed for electric vehicles.

Accompanied by a dozen Chinese representatives, the prime minister visited the Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia complex in Perth, Western Australia, Beta reported.

The company is 51 percent Chinese-owned, including the lithium mine and refinery.

Australia supplies 52 percent of the world's lithium, most of which is exported to China.

According to French media, the investment of Chinese shareholders in Australia's mining industry is a sensitive issue.

China has offered pandas to Australia in a bid to boost cooperation

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