Galaxy Resources raises 2021 spodumene production guidance on robust demand outlook

Australian spodumene producer Galaxy Resources has increased its full year production guidance for 2021 to 195,000-210,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene concentrate in response to strong demand, it said on Wednesday June 2.

The company had previous estimated an annual output of 185,000-200,000 dmt.

Galaxy’s Mt Cattlin operation in Western Australia has continued to operate at full capacity during the second quarter with over 40,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate produced so far in the quarter, it said.

The miner expects pricing for third-quarter scheduled shipments to likely exceed $750 per tonne on a cif China basis.

Spodumene is a feedstock material used in the production of lithium chemicals that go into batteries for electric vehicles. Most of the spodumene mined in Western Australia is shipped to China, where it is converted in lithium chemicals.

Fastmarkets’ monthly assessment for spodumene 6% Li2O min, cif China was at $650-720 per tonne on May 26, up by 42.3% from $390-400 per tonne on December 30.

Lithium raw material prices are typically driven by downstream price trends, and market participants have broadly been optimistic about demand in the battery supply chain.

The lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China was 87,000-89,000 yuan ($13,602- 13,915) per tonne on June 3, unchanged for three consecutive weeks but up by 76% from the end of last year when it stood at 48,000-52,000 yuan per tonne.

“The limited price gains in spodumene in April/May suggest the market was better supplied after the surge in shipments from South America and Australia earlier in the year. If spodumene prices now start to rise again at a faster pace, as Galaxy suggest and we also think will be the case, it would suggest the earlier surge in shipments has now been absorbed and buyers are getting more active again. It also suggests demand remains robust, despite the semiconductor shortage,” Fastmarkets head of battery raw materials research William Adams said.

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