Eye on Lithium: Benchmark splits Asian lithium carbonate and hydroxide grades to spot and contract prices
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All your ASX lithium news for Thursday, January 5
The primary markets for battery-grade lithium chemical sales in Asia (ex-China) Japan and South Korea saw rising liquidity in lithium spot transactions in 2022.
And more frequent transactions and higher volumes traded on a one-off settlement basis has resulted in greater lithium price volatility in shorter time spans.
But the bulk of lithium volumes into Asia remain transacted under long-term supply contracts, so as of this week, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence will now separate its Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) Asia lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide grades to publish spot and contract prices, to allow “greater granularity over landed prices into Asia”.
It basically means they want to provide a lot of small useful data around pricing since , and with global production set to double by 2024, and supply shortfalls forecast, anyone who’s got a slice of the lithium pie wants to know as much about the pricing environment as possible.
All lithium grades assessed by Benchmark on a monthly basis will now move to a publishing cycle of every two weeks, including the newly separated CIF Asia contract prices.
As the world’s lithium market matures further, Benchmark says it’s committed to evolving Price Assessment processes – to ensure the most accurate and reliable data for its subscribers.
“These latest changes to Benchmark’s market leading, IOSCO compliant Lithium Price Assessments reconfirm our commitment to providing the most trusted actionable intelligence on the lithium ion battery and EV supply chain,” BMI chief data officer Caspar Rawles says.
“This evolution in the way we collect and assess our CIF Asia lithium prices gives greater granularity for our customer base – the world’s lithium ion battery and electric vehicle supply chain – to use to settle contracts and plan major investments.”
A solid 61 stocks were in the green, 59 were flat and 26 were red.
The company’s maiden shipment from its Finniss Lithium Mine in the NT has sailed from Darwin to a customer in China.
The ship Rossana was loaded with 15,000 dmt of 1.4% Li2O spodumene Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) at a price of $US951/dmt.
It marks the company’s first revenue event – as well as a significant milestone moving from explorer to producer.
“This first shipment of lithium product has also allowed our team to successfully commission the logistics chain linking Finniss to the Darwin Port,” CEO Gareth Manderson said.
“Our focus now is to safely complete construction of the dense media separation (DMS) plant at Finniss to enable us to produce high-quality spodumene concentrate.”
The company has identified multiple outcropping pegmatites at its Laforge Lithium Project in Qeubec, with three samples observed containing visual spodumene which fluoresced under ultraviolet light.
Due to the extensive snow cover over the project, the field team covered less than 5% of the 270km2 project area and focused their efforts on windswept, outcropping areas to sample rock types prospective for lithium, as well as gold and base metals.
A total of 240 rock samples were collected, with 41 pegmatite samples collected and assay results are expected in eight weeks.
The company says the limited field campaign has bolstered its confidence in the prospectivity of the project, which is 65km northeast of Patriot Battery Metals’ (ASX:PMT) Corvette discovery in the Superior Province.
“We maintain the belief that the Laforge Lithium project represents a genuine opportunity to discover a significant lithium deposit in a Tier-1 jurisdiction and whilst we are excited with the data generated and the early observations from the recent geological site visit, we look forward to accelerating exploration once the snow clears and weather subdues in an effort to identify more outcropping pegmatites over the remaining >95% of or land holding,” executive chairman Patric Glovac said.