India reveals second new domestic lithium resource to help meet EV target

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has found a new lithium deposit in the country’s western state of Rajasthan, the government agency reported on Tuesday May 9, but the size of the new discovery has not yet been disclosed

This is the second significant lithium reserve found in the country this year, following February’s announcement of a deposit containing 5.9 million tonnes of inferred lithium resources in the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi District in the northwestern region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian government has ambitious expectations of the country’s electric vehicle (EV) market, and the newly discovered deposits could help to meet those expectations. Lithium is a key raw material in EV batteries and energy storage applications.

India’s EV market is forecast to reach annual sales of 10 million by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% between 2022 and 2030, according to the government-run Strategic Investment Research Unit (SIRU).

While demand for the ultralight metal was expected to grow to meet the global rush to e-mobility, spot lithium prices have retreated in recent months.

Chinese lithium spot prices led the global lithium market downward during the first quarter of 2023 due to weakness in demand.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range, exw domestic China, fell by 72.38% to a 2023 year-to-date low of 150,000-180,000 yuan ($21,670-26,004) per tonne on April 20. This was down from a recent peak of 590,000-605,000 yuan per tonne on November 17 last year.

The most recent assessment on May 4 was 200,000-230,000 yuan per tonne.

Chinese lithium prices have been on an uptrend since the April 20 low, supported by bullish sentiment amid expectations of improved demand in May. Other markets in China have been mostly quiet due to the Labor Day public holiday April 28-May 3.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range, exw domestic China, at 200,000-230,000 yuan per tonne on May 4, up by 30,000-35,000 yuan per tonne from 170,000-195,000 yuan per tonne a week earlier.

The supply of domestic technical grade lithium carbonate in China was tight due to the previous week’s arbitrage between technical and battery grade carbonate and hydroxide, as well as expectations of a near-term price rally, according to Fastmarkets’ battery raw material research team.

This strong activity in the technical market has lent support to battery grade lithium salt prices, Fastmarkets analysts added.

East Asian lithium prices have remained flat in recent weeks, with market participants cautious about a rebound in the Chinese lithium market.

Keep up to date with global market insights and predictions for 2023 and beyond with our NewGen forecasts.

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