Eye on Lithium: Lithium prices hit another record, show no sign of slowing down
All your ASX lithium news for Friday, March 4.
Lithium carbonate prices rose to $US63,900 in February.
A massive jump, especially when you consider that in February 2021 the price was $US11,250 per tonne.
That’s a gain of more than 450% for the year.
Lithium carbonate in China cont to rise 10% to an av of $60,600/t, a high of $63,900/t
Sustained high prices push up industry av over time.
We are comfortably 17 months into this new lithium bull market. No sign of it running out of steam pic.twitter.com/7kzxj0Owa6
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) February 15, 2022
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says this growth has no signs of slowing down, however it’s worth mentioning this is the spot price. Most lithium is traded via contracts, where prices are lower and more opaque.
Still, it’s a good indication where contract pricing is heading: up.
“Lithium hydroxide pricing in the Chinese domestic market in the second half of February underwent a more significant price increase than lithium carbonate, as atypical demand for hydroxide to convert or substitute for carbonate began to close the pricing gap that had developed between the two chemicals in the second half of 2021,” Benchmark says.
Transactions for lithium hydroxide ranged between $56,125-71,875/tonne, underscoring a 24.7% increase in the last two weeks of February.
Spodumene pricing remained relatively stable at $2,340/tonne, underpinning a slight downtick of 2.5% m-o-m.
Benchmark expects that when the shipping backlog is relieved, transacted spodumene prices will see a significant uptick in line with the lithium chemicals prices, to which many spodumene contracts are tied.
Only 15 stocks were in the green today, with 18 flatlining and 60 in the red.
Who’s got news out today?
PLL’s pride and joy is the Carolina lithium project in North Carolina. The company reckons that by combining its assets with equity investments in companies that own production assets in Quebec and Ghana, it’s position to be one of the largest, lowest cost and most sustainable producers of battery grade lithium hydroxide in the world.
PLL’s JV partner Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) announced earlier this week that it has doubled its lithium resource base across two flagship projects in Québec, Canada – the North American Lithium and Authier lithium projects – amid surging demand for the commodity.
Total JORC combined measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resources for the two projects now totals 119.1Mt at 1.05% lithium.
The company owns a nice 25% stake in Sayona Quebec, as well as around 17% in Sayona Mining, and today COO Patrick Brindle said the news was the next step in “helping Piedmont achieve its vision of becoming the leading lithium hydroxide producer in North America.”
“Sayona Quebec is one of the largest and best located spodumene businesses in Canada and, as a part producer with the bulk of plant and equipment in place, we believe is also the most advanced at this time,” he said.
“We look forward to Sayona’s upcoming release of new technical studies for both Authier and North American Lithium as we advance our plans to jointly restart spodumene concentrate production at North American Lithium in 2023, as the world’s demand for electric vehicles and lithium hydroxide continues to accelerate.”
Last month the company announced plans to double its lithium hydroxide production capacity to a total of 60,000 tpa, with its fully integrated project in North Carolina set to produce 30,000 tpa of hydroxide alongside a newly announced second facility – in an as-yet unannounced location – also planned to have a capacity of 30,000 tpa.
The company has picked up the Neutral Junction Project from Bowgan Minerals Limited in the Arunta province in the NT, which is adjacent to and along trend from its Home of Bullion copper mine.
Plus, the broader tenement package is prospective for base metals, lithium, rare earth elements (REEs) and gold.
The province is prospective for LCT pegmatites and associated lithium mineralogy, with companies like Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) and Australasian Gold (ASX:A8G) recently kicking off exploration in the Barrow Creek pegmatite field.
“The significant increase this Acquisition brings in the Barrow Creek pegmatite field and broader Arunta Pegmatite Province provides Eastern Metals with significantly increased potential for discovery, not just of lithium, but also REEs, base metals and gold,” MD and CEO Wayne Rossiter said.
The explorer has added 60km2 of gold and lithium tenure to its portfolio just 2kms from the First Hit project in WA.
The company says the two new tenements compliment the project – which recently returned 1m at 36.49 g/t Au from the Jana’s Reward target in a previously untested area.
While gold is the main focus, Viking says it will also look for lithium – since the December quarter RC drilling at the project encountered lithium minerals in pegmatites.
A geochemical sampling program is underway, and its expected that the pegmatites will extend into the new tenements.
“The prospect of pegmatites in the district with our identification of lithium minerals at First Hit3 also gives our shareholders exposure to multi-commodity upside,” MD and CEO Julian Woodcock said.