Launch of daily South Korea, Europe black mass inferred prices

Fastmarkets has launched daily inferred prices for black mass in South Korea and Europe, starting on Friday December 8.

The launch of daily inferred prices comes amid market demand to see the cost per-tonne of black mass units sold into both the Asian and European markets.

Black mass is typically negotiated using the current spot payables and the average of the previous month’s underlying metal prices, according to market participants.

Fastmarkets’ inferred prices for black mass will act as a daily indicator showing the value of the material based on the current spot payables and current day metal prices.

The prices are as follows:
Assessment: MB-BMS-0012 Black mass, NCM/NCA, inferred, cif South Korea, $/tonne
Assessment: MB-BMS-0013 Black mass, NCM/NCA, inferred, exw Europe, $/tonne

The launches follow Fastmarkets’ successful roll out of payables for CIF South Korea NCM/NCA black mass in May 2023 and eight new payables in September, including domestic ex-works payables in Europe.

The inferred prices are calculated using the Fastmarkets black mass payables, multiplied by the underlying metal prices, multiplied by the midpoint metal contents stipulated in Fastmarkets’ black mass methodologies. In the case of the lithium component in the CIF South Korea NCM/NCA black mass inferred price, the calculation also involves use of a conversion rate to turn lithium carbonate into a lithium metal price.

Although the European domestic market does not currently pay for lithium in black mass, Fastmarkets is watching the space with interest and is ready to react once lithium value is paid in the local market.

These prices will be a part of the Fastmarkets Minor Metals Physical, Industry Minerals Physical and Base Metals Physical price packages.

Calculation breakdown
The calculation for the price assessment MB-BMS-0012 Black mass, NCM/NCA, inferred, cif South Korea, $/tonne is as below (‘X’ means ‘multiplied by’):

  • Inferred nickel component: Fastmarkets’ black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, nickel, cif South Korea X midpoint LME nickel cash official price X nickel midpoint content in NCM black mass methodology (20%).
  • Inferred cobalt component: Fastmarkets’ black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, cobalt, cif South Korea X Fastmarkets’ standard grade cobalt price (low-end) X cobalt midpoint content in NCM black mass methodology (10%).
  • Inferred lithium component: Fastmarkets’ black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, lithium, cif South Korea X Fastmarkets’ lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea X lithium metal conversion rate X lithium midpoint content in NCM black mass methodology (4%).

The lithium conversion rate for metal from carbonate used in the calculation is 5.323, based on data provided by market participants.

The calculation for the price assessment MB-BMS-0013 Black mass, NCM/NCA, inferred, exw Europe, $/tonne is as below (‘X’ means ‘multiplied by’):

  • Inferred nickel component: Fastmarkets’ black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, nickel, exw Europe X midpoint LME nickel cash official price X nickel midpoint content in NCM black mass methodology (20%).
  • Inferred cobalt component: Fastmarkets’ black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, cobalt, exw Europe X Fastmarkets’ standard grade cobalt price (low-end) X cobalt midpoint content in NCM black mass methodology (10%).

The CIF South Korea price will be published at 4:30pm UK time daily, using the most recent black mass payables CIF South Korea NCM/NCA and the same day’s underlying metal prices.

The EXW Europe price will be published at 4:30pm UK time daily, using the most recent black mass payables EXW Europe NCM/NCA and the same day’s underlying metal prices.

The publication of both prices will follow the LME pricing calendar.

The identifiers of the prices used in the calculations are:

  • MB-BMS-0001 Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, nickel, cif South Korea, % payable LME Nickel cash official price
  • MB-BMS-0002 Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, cobalt, cif South Korea, % payable Fastmarkets’ standard-grade cobalt price (low-end)
  • MB-BMS-0003 Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, lithium, cif South Korea, % payable Fastmarkets’ lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea
  • MB-BMS-0004 Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, nickel, domestic, exw Europe, % payable LME Nickel cash official price
  • MB-BMS-0005 Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, cobalt, domestic, exw Europe, % payable Fastmarkets’ standard grade cobalt price (low-end)
  • MB-CO-0005 Cobalt standard grade, in-whs Rotterdam, $/lb (low-end)
  • MB-LI-0029 Lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea, $/kg (midpoint)
  • XL-NI-FRC.O LME nickel cash official price (midpoint)

Growing role for black mass
Black mass refers to the remains of a battery pack after it is shredded and processed. Depending on the type of battery being treated, it may contain volumes of materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which may be recovered by processors and extracted into recycled battery raw materials.

Creating a transparent price for black mass will incentivize its collection and processing, which will, in turn, reduce waste and the environmental burden of mining these critical and finite resources, lowering the industry’s carbon footprint.

As demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage grows, the black mass market will grow exponentially. As mentioned in the Fastmarkets Battery Recycling Outlook, we expect black mass volumes to increase by around 1.7 million tonnes over the next 10 years.

To provide feedback on these prices, or if you would like to provide price information by becoming a data submitter to these assessments, please contact Lee Allen by email at: pricing@fastmarkets.com. Please add the subject heading: “FAO: Lee Allen re: inferred prices for black mass in South Korea and Europe.”

To see all Fastmarkets’ pricing methodology and specification documents, go to https://www.fastmarkets.com/methodology.

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