SHANGHAI, Sep 21 (SMM) - According to the latest news, Australian mining company Pilbara recently held the sixth auction of spodumene concentrate this year and the ninth in history. The auction was closed with a price of $6,988/mt FOB, up from $6,350/mt at the previous auction on August 2, an increase of $638/mt or 10%.
The amount of ore in this auction is 5000 mt with a grade of 5.5%, and the cost of 1 metric tonne of LCE is about 510,000 yuan. This batch of ore is expected to be delivered in mid October. After considering the logistics cycle, the products are expected to enter the market in November or December. (Note: cost of 1 metric tonne of LCE: (6,988 (auction price) + 90 (freight rate)) × 6/5.5 (grade conversion) × 8 (unit consumption) × 1.13 × 7 + 25,000 (conversion margin) = 513,613 yuan)
The following picture shows the previous auctions of Pilbara:
Among the nine auctions in history, except the eighth auction when the price was equal to the sixth auction, the ninth auction once again recorded an all-time high. It can also be seen that due to the mismatch between the release pace of mine-end resources and the expansion speed of downstream lithium battery demand in the short term, the auction price of lithium concentrate has been rising constantly. Under the short-term supply tightness in China, the mid and downstream players have also shifted their attention to the auction of foreign concentrates to address their urgent needs. Coupled with the recent high of domestic lithium carbonate prices, it is evident that lithium carbonate market still maintains high prosperity.
According to previous import data, the import of spodumene concentrate in China has been growing month by month. China imported 293,202 mt of spodumene concentrate in July, up 41% on the month and up 78% on the year. From January to July 2022, the combined imports of spodumene concentrate stood at 1,464,590 mt (equivalent to about 183,000 mt of LCE).
In terms of lithium carbonate, SMM Price showed that on September 13, the highest spot quotation of domestic battery-grade lithium carbonate reached the 500,000 yuan/mt mark for the first time. Lithium carbonate prices rose again on September 19 with a range of 493,000-502,000 yuan/mt and an average of 497,500 yuan/mt.
In order to bring lithium salt prices back to rationality, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mentioned the task of ensuring the supply and price of lithium salts twice in early September alone. On September 2, Feng Meng, deputy director of the Raw Materials Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, proposed to ensure stable production and supply in key industries. It is key to establish a linkage monitoring mechanism among key raw material price departments to guide the price stabilisation of key products such as lithium carbonate and rare earth.
On September 15, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology seriously put it forward that all parties should do a good job in ensuring supply and price stability in an orderly manner. Top-tier enterprises shall continue to play an leading role, and production enterprises are strictly prohibited from collusion in pricing, and are required not to pricing with deviation from the cost. The quotation agencies should also standardise their quotations and play an active role in stabilising prices and market expectations while ensuring the supply chain as well as the industrial chain.