NEWS
NON-FERROUS  

Lithium price: Spodumene is getting crushed

As expansion programs at South American brine operations slow down, the bulk of new lithium capacity is coming from hard rock mines.

While demand growth continues to accelerate the supply response has been dramatic. Last year saw four new spodumene operations enter the market and while concentrate (6% free on board Australia) traded either side of $900 a tonne for most of 2018, prices fell sharply in January.

According to industry tracker Benchmark Minerals combined output at these operations last year totalled over 175,000 tonnes and ramp up is continuing.

Apart from the new mines, Talison-Albemarle's Greenbushes spodumene mine, the world's largest, is doubling capacity and in January earthworks began on a massive new plant fed by the mine.

Spodumene producers “experienced more pressure as 2018 contracts expired, ushering in a difficult period of negotiation for suppliers, as Chinese converters sought to receive significant discounts due to increased supply” says Benchmark:

With negotiations still ongoing for the limited volumes available outside of offtake agreements, prices as low as $620/tonne have been reported in the market – however this has largely been for small quantities of off-spec material.

The majority of volumes are being traded at $700-750/tonne for 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate, although there could be some further decreases when Chinese buying activity resumes from mid-February onwards.

While generally higher on the cost curve than brine operations, spodumene concentrate is converted into battery-grade lithium hydroxide which trades at around $16,000 per tonne ex-works in China, down from $20,000 six months ago.

Pumping and evaporating brine solution produces lithium carbonate which sometimes requires further refining or conversion to feed into the battery supply chain. Battery-grade lithium carbonate in China has halved in value over the past year and is now exchanging hands for under $12,000 a tonne.

At least the worst may be over for chemical prices says Benchmark:

“While these lower feedstock costs leave room for more reductions in Chinese chemical prices, any further decreases are expected to be marginal with many producers already operating at close to cost.”

News No: 3566
Date: 2019/02/05 - 16:51
News Source: MINING.COM

Lithium  Spodumene  South American  Albemarle  chemical 

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

   
   
   
 

Canada lithium mining hopeful takes another big hit

Nemaska Lithium (TSE: NMX) announced on Monday it has terminated a multi-year supply agreement with Livent Corporation that would cost the Quebec company up to $20m to settle.
 

Quebec lithium developer's stock craters after cost blowout

Nemaska Lithium's (TSE: NMX) stock plummeted Wednesday after disclosing it has been forced to revise the budget for the Whabouchi lithium mine and Shawinigan electrochemical plant upward by C$375 million. The company, with a $300 market cap on the TSX, clawed back some of the early day's losses, but still closed the day down 35%.
 

Iran Breaks US, Japan Monopoly in Production of Ultracentrifuges

Iranian scientists could manufacture ultracentrifuges with the capability of spinning 60,000rpm, to become the third nation with the needed hi-tech to manufacture such centrifuges after the US and Japan.
 

American Manganese moves forward with plans to recycle lithium-ion battery materials

American Manganese (TSX.V: AMY; FRANK: 2AM) announced this week that its partner, Kemetco Research, started the processing of a select sample of cathode scrap material through Stages 1 and 2 of a Pilot Plant built to recycle cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum.
 

Bolivia picks Chinese partner for $2.3B lithium project

Bolivia has chosen a Chinese consortium to help it produce lithium, the government said on Wednesday, giving China a potential foothold in the country's huge untapped reserves of the prized electric battery metal.
 

Lead production expected to grow in 2019 – report

A study by Wood Mackenzie forecasts that global lead production, excluding that of China, will increase in 2019 by about 250 kt, which is equivalent to over 10% of current output.
Upcoming Events
Publications
 Mines & Metals

Mine & Business Today

 Scrap & Recycling

Ahangan

Our partners