Eye on Lithium: Chinese lithium chemical prices slip and slide but SQM’s profit more than triples
All your lithium news, Friday March 3.
Chinese lithium chemical prices have continued to fall amid ongoing inventory destocking by traders and cathode manufacturers, but it wasn’t enough to break the stride of the world’s second largest lithium miner who posted a fourth quarter net profit more than triple that of a year earlier.
On Wednesday, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) posted a quarterly profit of US$1.15bn for the 12 months ending December 31, 2022 while revenue also nearly tripled to US3.13bn.
“Our long-term view of the lithium view of the lithium market, the investments we made in new capacity, the risk we took and the operational success, all of that positioned us to benefit from the market conditions seen last year,” SQM CEO Ricardo Ramos explained.
Chile’s SQM, the world’s second-largest lithium producer, on Thursday posted a fourth-quarter net profit that more than tripled, fueled by demand for the white metal used by car makers in the booming electric vehicle industry. https://t.co/jEyyYJnGg7
— AGRO ⚡️🔋 (@agroasx) March 2, 2023
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s (BMI) Lithium Price Index, technical grade pricing from February 22 – March 1 fell the most sharply by 7.5% as traders looked to sell off material over fears of further price decreases.
“Contacts reported that more technical grade material was entering the market from the Qinghai brine projects, which are ramping up following the winter off-season,” the price reporting agency said.
BMI added the crackdown on illegal mining activities in Jiangxi Province towards the end of February had no effect on pricing.
“Mining operation shutdowns were short-lived, with major players continuing to process and convert lithium ore from their inventories throughout the inspections, preventing any supply-side impact.”
Over in the UK, Australian battery manufacturing start-up, Recharge Industries, officially announced the acquisition of collapsed firm British Volt which struggled to fund a major electric vehicle battery factory in northern England.
Recharge is currently developing Australia’s first large-scale lithium-ion cell production facility in Geelong and said it was confident it could turn the Britishvolt project into a growing success.
A total of 37 stocks finished in the green, 61 fell flat, and another 39 tumbled into the red zone.
Astro has stacked the board with ex-Pilbara Minerals alumni and expanded its landholding in Nevada.
Tony Leibowitz, the founding chairman of ASX-50 lithium producer Pilbara Minerals, has been appointed to executive chairman in a role which will see him “take a hands-on approach”.
Meanwhile, geologist John Young has been appointed to non-executive director. Young held a number of key roles at Pilbara Minerals between 2014-2018.
“John is a talented and highly experienced geologist who, together with Neil Biddle, helped implement the exploration strategy which saw the rapid growth of the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project to become one of the world’s foremost hard rock lithium projects,” Leibowitz said.
The company also nabbed two new early stage projects named Polaris and Altair, both located on the southern extent of the Montezuma Valley, following a systematic review of regional open file data, such as mapped geology, topography, stream sediment geochemistry, land administration and an assessment of suitable claim-free areas.