Eye on Lithium: Believe it or not, Chinese lithium prices are still trending upwards
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All your ASX lithium news for Thursday, August 4.
Benchmark Minerals Intelligence says both technical and battery grade lithium carbonate on the Chinese domestic market ticked upwards in the last week, increasing by 0.3% and 0.2% week-on-week, respectively.
China is the world’s biggest lithium consumer. Benchmark says pricing for LiPF6 has risen in recent weeks under strong demand, “which could be providing some upside to lithium carbonate prices as electrolyte feedstock producers compete for lithium units with consumers in the cathode value chain.”
“Benchmark recorded an offer in South Korea for battery grade hydroxide at $70,000/tonne (CIF Asia), amid reports spot market pricing outside of China has begun to soften, beginning to erode the significant premium that has developed for international transactions compared to the Chinese domestic market,” they said.
“Nonetheless, contacts reported to Benchmark that small spot market volumes of lithium hydroxide in Europe or North America could fetch nearly $10,000/tonne more than an order for lithium carbonate, amid ongoing concerns over availability, with ex-China hydroxide prices still reaching towards $80,000/tonne (FOB North America).”
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A total of 53 stocks were in the green, 56 were flat and 22 were red.
Sayona says the restart of its North American Lithium (NAL) operation in Quebec is picking up speed – and is on track for first production of spodumene in Q1 2023.
Around 30% of the plant and equipment upgrade has been completed, including the arrival of a magnetic separator and crusher.
“With virtually all of the NAL operation powered by hydroelectricity, this is truly one of the world’s most sustainable lithium operations, an important ESG differentiator in an industry that aims to facilitate global decarbonisation,” MD Brett Lynch said.
NAL currently has around 50 construction workers on‐site, with the number expected to double by September.
The company has welcomed the Thai Cabinet’s approval of a new policy to improve investment promotion for the exploration, mining and the downstream minerals processing industries in Thailand.
The ‘Policy on Mining and Downstream Industry’ essentially puts minerals supply chain security front and centre of Thailand’s industrial growth initiatives, encouraging mineral exploration, mining and/or mineral dressing, and smelting or metallurgy.
And PAM is the only ASX lithium explorer in Southeast Asia at the Reung Kiet Lithium Project (mineral resource of 10.4MT at 0.44% Li2O) where infill and extensional drilling is underway.
“[Thailand is] recognising that minerals exploration, mining and processing are high risk activities requiring time, skills, substantial investment and a stable policy environment, and that there is a need to encourage these activities through investment promotion and incentives,” MD Paul Lock said.
“PAM is uniquely positioned in Thailand and the region, being the only battery and critical metals explorer of substance and having a long and successful track record in the country, as well as a deep knowledge of Thailand’s and the region’s geology and opportunities.”
Brines from the Clastic Zones at the company’s Paradox lithium project in Utah have returned a 70% increase in grades, compared to initial assaying.
The Long Canyon No. 2 well returned assays of up to 191 parts per million lithium, 3,862ppm bromine and 1,123ppm boron in the 12m thick Clastic Zone 19 – a substantial improvement over results from fast-track assays which were received last month.
The company is planning to release an upgrade of the existing resource at the Paradox Project on completion of its current drilling campaign. This will include the thicker Mississippian Units and Clastic Zones 17, 19, 29 and 33 which are not included in the existing Paradox resource. There is also potential for further resource expansion via targeted drilling in the western areas of the project.
Paradox currently has a resource of 186,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.
This resource upgrade will be included in the Definitive Feasibility Study which is currently being completed.
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