Lithium prices continue to surge as graphite, cobalt take a breather
In March, strong EV sales continued to drive a prolonged tightness in the lithium spot market.
“These tailwinds forced upward price pressure in the lithium market as a whole, causing Benchmark’s Lithium Price Index to rise by 10.8% this month,” Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says.
Following cobalt’s spectacular rally in February, prices largely took a breather in March, according to Benchmark.
Early indications suggest that cobalt prices will experience further downward pressure, however Benchmark expects this will be relatively short-lived due to “lingering tightness in hydroxide supply and robust downstream demand”.
In March, the Benchmark Graphite Price Index fell 1.5%, impacted by shipping difficulties from China which “continued to suppress graphite market activity, despite burgeoning demand growth”.
Meanwhile, the long-term demand outlook strengthened as anode producers continue to regularly announce capacity expansions.
Over 2.1mtpa of anode capacity is currently in construction or planned, according to the Benchmark Anode Market Assessment.
Jindalee’s 10.1Mt lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) ‘McDermitt’ lithium deposit is now the largest in the US following a resource upgrade.
“The results from the 2021 Mineral Resource update and the material uplift in contained lithium reinforces the significance of the McDermitt project as a potential source of future supply to the rapidly growing US battery manufacturing industry,” the company says.
“Jindalee intends to continue de-risking the project through further metallurgical studies aimed at the downstream processing flowsheet ahead of a potential Scoping Study in the June quarter of 2021.”
A scoping study is the first proper look at the economics of building a project.
The Jindalee share price was up +22% in early trade.
Anteotech will be part of the CRC’s four year ‘Super Anode project’ research partnership, which aims to develop “the materials, processes and cell-level technology to kick-start Australia’s battery industry”.
AnteoTech is one of nine research participants in the project, selected as the exclusive contributor of silicon composite materials.
“Participation in the Super Anode Project provides our Energy team with a great opportunity to collaborate with key Australian industry partners in the development of silicon active material,” AnteoTech’s head of energy Manuel Wieser says.
“We have already demonstrated solid results with our in-house testing of half cell batteries.
“This project will take our work to the next level providing scale-up, demonstration and validation opportunities for the silicon composite development work being undertaken by AnteoTech while creating a marketable product and expanding AnteoTech’s IP portfolio.”
Graphite project developer Walkabout is in a trading halt until about Tuesday pending an announcement regarding an update on the funding process for the Lindi Jumbo project in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, lithium play Infinity is in a halt “pending an announcement regarding an update on project tenure”.
The company has been battling local opposition to its regionally significant San José lithium project.