Galaxy’s lithium spodumene production rises by 35% in Q2

Galaxy Resources' lithium spodumene concentrate production at its flagship Mt Cattlin operations in Western Australia rose by 34.83% to 56,460 tonnes in three months to June, from 41,874 tonnes in preceding quarter.

The company production surpassed its production target of 45,000-50,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene.

Overall, Galaxy produced 98,334 tonnes of lithium spodumene concentrate in the first half of 2019, compared with 91,753 tonnes produced in the first half of 2018.

Sales were also up by 93.77% at 29,439 tonnes of lithium spodumene concentrate in the second quarter, up from 15,192 tonnes in the first quarter.

Galaxy’s sales adversely affected by a postponement to the delivery of 15,000 tonnes scheduled for the second quarter. The tonnages will now be shipped in the third quarter due to delays in negotiations with their customers.

Galaxy said it anticipates it will produce 45,000-55,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene and sell 60,000-70,000 tonnes of the same material in the third quarter.

Galaxy’s spodumene concentrate output contained an average minimum 6% of Li2O in April-June, up from min 5.7% achieved in the preceding three months.

Although the company did not specify the price achieved, Fastmarkets’ spodumene 5-6% Li2O min, cif China contract price stood at $585-650 per tonne on June 26, down from $670-600 per tonne on May 29.

The company reduced production costs by 25.60% to $337 per tonne on a fob basis in the second quarter, from $453 per tonne in the previous quarter. This makes Galaxy one of the lowest cost producers of lithium spodumene concentrate in the world.

The company expects to produce 180,000-210,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene concentrate in 2019, up from 156,689 tonnes produced in 2018.

Galaxy’s strong production results reached the market at a period of lower lithium carbonate and hydroxide prices due to global oversupply and continuous increases in production of lithium compounds which could sustain lower lithium prices in the coming months.

Fastmarkets research anticipates an oversupplied market through 2019 as high as 355,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2019 against demand of 300,000 tpy of LCE for the same year.

The Chinese domestic lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price exw has fallen by 34.41% year on year to 68,000-73,000 yuan ($9,882-10,609) per tonne on Thursday July 11, from 105,000-110,000 yuan per tonne on July 19, 2018.

Fastmarkets’ lithium hydroxide 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China has fallen by 38.78% over the same period to 78,000-83,000 yuan per tonne, from 128,000-135,000 yuan per tonne on July 19, 2018.

Lithium spodumene concentrate is mainly used as a raw material in the production of lithium carbonate and hydroxide by converters in China.