Eye on Lithium: Don’t forget — spot and contract prices for lithium, nickel are two very different things
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All your ASX lithium news for Thursday, March 10.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence bossman Simon Moores has taken to twitter to tell everyone to calm down a bit about record high nickel and lithium spot prices.
“Spot markets are different to real world markets, that are driven by those actually producing and using the material,” he said.
He also pointed out that the lasting impact of “silly” lithium and nickel prices will be forcing supply chain, especially end users, into more extreme action such as owning chemical plants & mines.
Nickel at $100k isn’t what battery and EV makers will be paying today for their sulphate feed.
Likewise, for lithium carbonate in China at ~$80k…
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) March 9, 2022
Analyst George Miller also jumped on the bandwagon, reminding everyone of the global weighted average lithium carbonate price of $52k/tonne.
“A substantial proportion of EV value chain paying less than this for carbonate today, important to recognise that supply in the lithium market is mainly under contract,” he said.
A total of 45 stocks were in the green today, with 27 flatlining and 26 in the red.
The explorer is gearing up to acquire EV Minerals and its 4 lithium assets in the Pilbara.
The tenements covering 164km2 include the Tambourah project, which has multiple outcropping pegmatites containing lepidolite and potentially spodumene.
CEO Julian Ford says the acquisition is potentially company-making for Riversgold.
“The development of the Pilgangoora Project by Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) has been an extremely valuable case study for junior explorers looking to follow the same path as we now are,” he said.
“At Tambourah, we have the classic hallmarks of an LCT lithium target much like Pilgangoora. In Western Australia, we are fortunate that gold and lithium exploration targets often occur in the same tenure and geological setting.”
The Wodgina East Project is within ~2km of Albemarle/Mineral Resources’ (ASX:MIN) Wodgina Lithium Deposit (259.2Mt at 1.17% Li2O%).
The company is planning a $1 million cap raising explore its existing projects, as well as these proposed acquisitions.
The company has farmed-out its nickel laterite and cobalt projects to focus on its core gold and Li/REE projects in WA.
The Coronation Dam and Ghan Well projects will be sold to IPO GenX Resources, who will spend a minimum $250k on the projects within six months of listing on ASX.
Subject to meeting the minimum expenditure, GenX may elect to acquire 50% of the projects by issuing $250k worth of its shares to White Cliff, and then has 18 months from listing to spend an additional $1m to earn an additional 30% of the projects, bringing its total to 80%.
On earning 80% interest of the Projects, GenX may elect to acquire the remaining 20% interest held by the company by paying $1m cash to White Cliff and granting a 2% Net Smelter Royalty on all minerals derived from the projects.
White Cliff may elect to receive the $1m in GenX shares lieu of the cash payment.
Piedmont released the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) to expand planned US manufacturing capacity to 60,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide.
The PEA assumes the second lithium hydroxide plant is located on one of several sites under consideration that share similar physical and operating characteristics with respect to capital costs, acreage, infrastructure, rail access, proximity to transportation routes, potential customers, and available workforce.
It also assumes a 30-year life of operations with production of 30,000 metric tons per year of battery grade lithium hydroxide, projected capital costs of $572 million with a steady-state all-in-sustaining lithium hydroxide production cost estimate at $10,630 per metric tonne.
Fixed pricing is assumed of $22,000/t for lithium hydroxide and $1,200/t for spodumene concentrate, which leads to a projected average steady-state EBITDA of $346 million per year, an estimated net present value of approximately $2.25 billion, and an internal rate of return of 33%.
The company said the PEA demonstrates the potential to expand the company’s lithium hydroxide manufacturing business using spodumene concentrate from market sources as well as from existing supply agreements with Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) and Atlantic Lithium (AIM:ALL).
“With prevailing spot lithium prices at approximately triple the fixed pricing assumptions used in the PEA, Piedmont has substantial leverage relative to higher lithium prices across our entire portfolio of projects,” President and CEO Keith Phillips said.
Initial RC drilling at the company’s Waratah Well project in WA has confirmed widespread lithium and tantalum, with results of 12m at 0.30% Li2O and 8m at 0.22% Li2O.
“These 1km spaced drill holes have given us some significant technical insights into the Waratah Well lithium potential and we’ll now target the areas further north and east of the most lithium enriched drill holes where the pegmatites disappear under soil cover,” CEO Mick Clifford said.
“The drill program confirms a very large, prospective lithium, caesium, tantalum pegmatite field is present at Waratah Well.”
A shallow RC program is planned to test the pegmatites under soil cover in March/April once heritage clearances are secured.
The company has flagged “encouraging” assay results from its Bitterwasser project in Namibia, Africa.
Arcadia says the results suggest a potential increase of the existing mineral resource – currently 15.1 million tons at 828 ppm Li – contained over only 24% of the Eden clay pan surface area.
The company has identified 7 additional clay pans, bringing the total pans under investigation to 14 for a total pan area comprising 95.9Km2.
“The identification of 7 additional exposed pans not only enhances the prospect of making additional Lithium-in-clay discoveries in the area, but is also expected to be a prelude to other prospects that may be available for further investigation, and which are hidden from sight under and over the surface of the 4,000Km2 Bitterwasser project,” chairman Jurie Wessels said.