SHANGHAI, Oct 29 (SMM)—Altura, an Australian lithium concentrate producer, has now gone into receivership, according to an announcement of Korda Mentha.
Altura is an important supplier of lithium concentrate and one of the top five lithium mines currently in production in Australia, with a lithium concentrate production capacity of 220,000 mt /year. The company has been in commercial production since the second quarter of 2019. It produced 165,000 mt and sold 121,000 mt of lithium concentrate in 2019, and its output and sales totalled 133,000 mt and 129,000 mt respectively in the first three quarters of 2020, accounting for 10% of total lithium concentrate supply in Australia. Its customers include Ganfeng Lithium, Ruifu Lithium, Zhiyuan Lithium and Yongshan Lithium.
Lithium concentrate capacities continued to fall in Australia as its prices extended declines. By the end of July 2020, lithium concentrate prices had fallen below $400/mt. Altura, as one of the top five lithium concentrate suppliers in Australia, has signed long-term contracts with many Chinese lithium smelters. Its bankruptcy reorganisation will further affect lithium concentrate supply. This, combined with falling domestic lithium concentrate inventories in Q2 and Q3, is expected to boost its prices and post greater cost pressure for lithium salts plants. Some materials producers expected demand for lithium sales to rise further in November as battery makers have started to ramp up production. Currently, prices of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide are hovering at low levels, but greater cost pressure is likely to lift them higher in Q4.