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First portal solely dedicated to comprehensive coverage of Lithium market, the most crucial commodity of XXI century.

 


 

PRICES


Lithium Basis Price range Date Price change Market pressure
Carbonate 99.5% min. Battery grade EXW China SUBSCRIBE
Carbonate 99.5% min. Battery grade CIF Japan & Korea SUBSCRIBE
Carbonate 99.5% min. Battery grade EXW EU SUBSCRIBE
Carbonate 99.5% min. Battery grade EXW US SUBSCRIBE
Hydroxide Monohydrate 56.5% min. EXW China SUBSCRIBE
Hydroxide Monohydrate 56.5% min. CIF Japan/Korea SUBSCRIBE
Hydroxide Monohydrate 56.5% min. EXW EU SUBSCRIBE
Hydroxide Monohydrate 56.5% min. EXW US SUBSCRIBE
Metal 99.0 % min. EXW China SUBSCRIBE

 

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LITHIUM MARKET WIRE


5th May 2019

Cathode manufacturers in China operate in very low margin territory, yet battery factories in beginning of May are reported to still keep pushing for lower prices. It has a direct impact on cathode materials prices in the country, with price of lithium iron phosphate…

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28th April 2019

The growing number of energy storage projects in the world uses different types of batteries together to achieve synergies and therefore an increased performance. Analysts call it a “hybridisation trend”, with most frequently lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow batteries being used…

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21st April 2019

According to Chinese media reports ProLogium solid state battery plant (commercial not a pilot) is ahead of schedule to start mass production in 2021 instead of planned 2022. If these plans materialise ProLogium will become the world’s first solid state battery plant producing for mass market. The plant is situated in Taoyuan, Taiwan. ProLogium plans have been criticised…

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14th April 2019

Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co.,Ltd listed in Shenzhen is a major player on the market among the Chinese companies which directly extract lithium from the ground (in this case from the brine) and not rely to large extent on imported material for processing and production of lithium carbonate.

Potassium chloride however remains its main line of business. Company disclosed nearly RMB 18 million as a revenue for 2018 (roughly USD 2,7 million) with a net loss of…

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4th April 2019

In February 2019, China’s total imports of cobalt amounted to 3,826 metal tons, down 30% from the previous month and down 28% year-on-year.

Sales of spodumene concentrates in China during the last month have been low. Smelters have been fully stocked by the Chinese New Year (5th Feb) and also reduced the output in March. Currently prices for spodumene are at the levels of XXXX-XXXX/MT…

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27th March 2019

Sichuan Province municipal & government agencies issued a joint plant focused on developing EV and Battery industry in the province. With development of pilot battery recycling plant as a priority.

Chinese Weilai Automoile builds autonomous EVs (nio.io). In the first quarter of 2019, Weilai Automobile delivered 3,989 units of its flagship ES8, of which 1,373 units were delivered in March, an increase of 69.3% from the 811 units in February. Weilai Automobile has so far put a total of 15,337 ES8s on the market.

The spot price of cobalt sulphate, used in batteries for energy storage in China rose. Chinese spot price was impacted by the rising price of cobalt on global market and the low levels of downstream inventories. The price in the range of…

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20th March 2019

According to Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology among new models of Electric Vehicles announced this time lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries will be installed in 61% of passenger vehicles and 94% of buses and “special” vehicles. This announcement corresponds to Lithium Today expectations posted some days ago on Twitter and mentioned in previous Lithium Market Wire that with expected withdrawal of government subsidies battery makers and EV producers will switch back into cost effective LFP cathode material which lost market share last year and which prices dropped by over 40% yoy. Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is…

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13th March 2019

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) as a cathode material of choice lost competition to Lithium Nickel Oxide and Lithium Manganese Oxide some time ago, but with reduction of subsidies on Chinese market this year it has a potential to regain a market share, due to its cost competitiveness and particularly weak demand for several months that drove its price to the levels more than 40% lower year over year, and as low as USD 7450-7600/MT in March, what dangerously put it to the levels where producers are manufacturing at cost. LFP production process…

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6th March 2019

In BYD’s February sales report, automaker states sales of 14,429 EVs while the number from February last year was at the level of 8,357 vehicles what signifies an increase of 72.7%. For January sales of EVs in China doubled year-over-year, with a government’s plan of 30% EV subsidies reduction in 2019. As there is no certainty from when the cuts will become effective consumers rush to secure still subsidised purchases.

The price for NMC and LFP cathode materials keeps going down since the end of Chinese Spring Festival, however the price spread between those materials widens, as a demand for LFPs becomes stronger. Implications of…

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26th February 2019

Investment in Chilean lithium mines is estimated at USD 1.8 billion for 2018, constituting over 270% increase year over year. While Chile’s lithium exports for last year reached a figure of USD 948 million. To put this in context, revenues from copper exports were at the level of over USD 15 billion.

Lanxiao Technology and Jintai Lithium concluded a contract for construction, operation and servicing of lithium carbonate production line with a capacity of 4000 MT/year. Project is planned to be completed before the end of December 2019.

Jintai Lithium operates in the Balenmahai mining area of Qinghai Province and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qinghai Jintai Potash Fertilizer, entity possessing mining rights for Barumma Sea Salt Lake. In…

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19th February 2019

Jiangxi Dongpeng New Materials Co., Ltd. according to Chinese media reports plans to start production of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate 56.5% min. and Lithium Carbonate 99.5% min in second half of this year. Plant will be located in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province with total investment of around 380 million Yuans. The planned annual capacity will be at the level of 15 000 MT for Lithium Hydroxide and 10 000 MT for Lithium Carbonate. The company has been known so far production of cesium and rubidium salts. Founded in 2000, its…

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12th February 2019

In Q4 Chinese smartphone market shrinked by 9.7% y/o/y. Apple’s smartphone shipments were estimated to contract by almost 20% y/o/y, Xiaomi 35% y/o/y, while Huawei shipments surged 23.3% y/o/y despite controversies surrounding the company.

Lithium cobalt oxide market is stale and the transaction price is affected by the recently increased volatility of raw materials. Battery factories have large stocks, so downstream demand is weak.

Starting from the end of last year lithium metal price has been gradually falling. Impacted by lower price of lithium salts, winter environmental inspection of pharmaceutical companies that ended up in several closures and a weakened demand…

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4th February 2019

Nanjing based Hanrui Cobalt Co., established in 1997, and specialized in exploitation and refining of cobalt ore enters import and export business, with focus on materials as cobalt chloride and cobalt sulfate. Lithium carbonate and hydroxide markets are quiet, as logistical capabilities remain limited in China for New Year’s Eve festival. Price for…

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24th January 2019

Apple which uses Samsung SDI batteries in its products hired Samsung battery executive to lead their battery development project. Analysts speculate that it may signify Apple’s desire to develop its own batteries in a long run.

Qinghai Salt Lake Potash Company Limited (SHE: 000792) (seller of Lithium Carbonate) runs a risk of de-listing warning from Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The company announced a second year of losses in its 2018 annual results forecast.

Market for lithium salts effectively halt in expectation of Chinese New Year. No transactions have been reported and logistic operations have been discontinued. The price of lithium carbonate continue to..

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14th January 2019

Sales of EVs in China increased by 19% in December from the previous month and by 79% YOY. Last week trading activity in Lithium Carbonate and Hydroxide was low. Due to price declines in the last year, buyers are said to not build stocks before holidays in China. The price of Lithium Carbonate remains steady from the last week, while the prices of Lithium Carbonate…

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FEATURED WHITE PAPER


“As lithium industry grows and matures, every year and its macro-economic importance becomes more evident, it increasingly starts to face a very specific set of opportunities and challenges in response to growing interest of regulators, academia and wider public, expressed through higher level of scrutiny, new regulations with a potential impact on the industry, need for an objective information supported by a robust data and environmental concerns.”

 

 

“From within, there is a space for improvement in terms of common standards, safer trading environment or provision of quick and amicable dispute resolution services. Lithium Trade Association, gathering lithium market and industry stakeholders will aim to make the best use of the opportunities and effectively address the challenges affecting the industry as a whole through leveraging the collective strength of its members, over the capabilities of a single entity to act on the issues of common interest, in most efficient and cost effective manner.”

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WITH EXPERT, ON LITHIUM (SERIES)


The interview with Juan Carlos Zuleta, starts a series of interviews with leading lithium market and industry experts, who in the era of ubiquitous social media might be as well called “influencers”. Juan Carlos journey with lithium started very early-on, when lithium was much more of the niche than it is today. His ability to put developments on lithium market in historical perspective makes for the extremely interesting reading.

 

Lithium Today (LT): How have you started following the lithium market? How come, you’ve got interested in this space?

Juan Carlos Zuleta (JCZ): That’s a very long story. It begins well back in the 90’s when I was studying in New York. I was doing a PhD in Economics and I came across the contract that the Government of Bolivia signed at the time with FMC Corporation. I am specifically talking about February 1992 when the Government of Bolivia signed a contract with FMC Corporation to start a project in Salar de Uyuni. This project didn’t materialize because when the contract was submitted to Bolivia’s congress, the congressmen found some difficulties to accept it as it was, because there were some things they did not like. For instance, there was a clause concerning a duration of the contract. This called for 40 years, without any obligation on the part of FMC to exploit one gram of lithium. And also FMC was not willing to accept a change in the percentage of value added tax that had changed from 10% to 13%, right in the middle of the negotiation process. They thought that since they had signed the contract in February and the value added tax changed in May, they should not pay the new taxes. This was also unacceptable for the congressmen at that time so the company was very discouraged and finally abandoned Bolivia in January 1993, and moved instead to Argentina.

LT: But I think looking from perspective the conditions to extract lithium from Bolivia right now, are more onerous than they were before…

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FEATURED ANALYSIS


The image presented to foreign players in lithium sector, regarding economic, political and social environment in the South American Lithium Triangle is usually very simplified. It paints a picture of stable and growing Chile, Argentina getting back on track with its technocratic leader and regional enfant terrible Bolivia with its populistic – and hence by definition labelled as business unfriendly policies. More detailed analysis of socio-economic and political situation in these countries rarely reaches lithium industry decision makers and analysts. The Chinese quest for dominance in lithium and battery sector best reflected by a series of bold acquisitions and investment, concluded or attempted is also rarely discussed in a wider geopolitical context of changing US foreign policy, particularly in relation to Latin America and in context of frantic attempts to regain a level playing field by large Korean and Japanese corporations. We aim to fill-in this gap and re-examine some of those commonly hold perception and believes by taking a more macro view and providing a reader with better understanding of local realities.

 

Chile’s flawed image of stable democracy

Since it’s embrace of democracy in 1990 Chile became a model of development – politically and economically for its South American peers. Yet with rising inequalities, as illustrated by growing Gini index (Chile outranks Nigeria and is in top 25 of most unequal economies) and wide disenchantment with politics embodied by falling voting turnout rates (In 1989, 86 percent of voters cast a ballot. In last election only 46 percent did, with decline in turnout especially among poorer parts of society – who traditionally were more likely to vote left). Chile’s image has been tarnished. Future also remains uncertain. On one hand we have a right-wing president, detached from liberal society being in favor of extended abortion rights, stricter environmental protection measures and rights for sexual minorities. On the other, leftist government promising to curb corruption in which elites drawing its power from the time of Pinochet have been involved – failing to deliver while the left’s leader family member gets entangled in land dealing scandals.

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FEATURED REPORT


 

All lithium production estimates that we have encountered are quiet opaque regarding the methodology and data sources employed. They state the number of total production without quoting the exact sources, based on which estimate is build. Moreover, as per our previous article, the only free of charge report available including global lithium production estimates, published every year, comes from USGS. For most of commodities with high geopolitical and macroeconomic importance, there is usually more than one free of charge source available. 

 

Rightly so, as this opens up the room for further discussion and cross checks the validity of estimates. Since business decisions are often based on commodities supply and demand estimates, we believe that they should be transparent, discussed and continuously improved, for any commodity and raw material.

 

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FEATURED SERVICE


 

Lithium Today looks at an ambitious and innovative project of tracking and forecasting lithium production from space. Read on how we could use satellite imagery to give you an edge in the market.

Satellite technology experiences a quiet revolution. It is driven by an entry of privately-owned SMEs into the market, which through most of its relatively short history has been dominated by governments with its closely guarded secrets.

At that time satellites have only existed in one dimension. They were massive. Their huge size has been to large extent derived from doubling and tripling devices on board to make their probability to fail when in space very small.  From time to time they have failed nevertheless.

At some point engineers working with governments realized that instead of trying to build one fool proof expensive satellite which may still fail, it would make more economic sense to perhaps build a series of small, light, cheap satellites that could work together in constellations, even if it means that some of them will surely quickly become dysfunctional.

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INTERVIEW


Cobalt27 is likely to hold one of the largest stocks of physical cobalt in the world, through its fund. Anthony Milewski, its CEO brings us closer to the nature of this business and shares his views on the involvement of financial players in physical minor metals market.

 

Lithium Today (LT): Maybe at first let’s get back in time a bit. When was the first time when you realized that cobalt prices may skyrocket.

Anthony Milewski (AM): I don’t think at first we were focused on price, we were focused on demand. We started looking at EV revolution and basic materials that it was based on. We were looking at nickel, copper, lithium in particular. Each one had its own supply and demand dynamic and one of the unique things about cobalt was its importance inside batteries chemistries. We immediately could see tremendous growth in demand in coming years, immediate future but also in the coming decades. It really sparked our interest in thinking about what that demand will mean for cobalt in the coming years.

LT: When was it in terms of years?

AM: It’s been about two and a half, three years, now.

LT: Have you ever considered investing in lithium in any form?

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TALK TO AN EXPERT


Order a 1 hour live webinar with our analyst who will walk you through lithium market and industry fundamentals.

 

Among discussed topics you will find:

 

  • Production process
  • Key players
  • Lithium trading
  • Grades traded
  • Geopolitical influences
  • Main categories of lithium consumers
  • Regulations impacting lithium market
  • Further sources of information
  • Q&A
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RESEARCH


Across the globe, lithium can be found mainly in pegmatite type deposits and brine deposits, with brine resources accounting for a large part of the resources. 

Deposits discussed here cover deposits not discussed in the Lithium supply by countries section. They are either not in production, or Lithium from this deposits is produced in small quantities or as in case of U.S., the data regarding the production levels is not publicly available. This part covers Canada, U.S., Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Serbia and Mali.

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Portugal has had a difficult mining history with labour and unions and suffers from the high price of the Euro but may prove to be a beneficial destination for lithium production from a European perspective. Close proximity to European automotive manufacturers will give desirable supply for product which has traditionally been sold for glass & ceramics. 

Find out if existing operations and projects under development give hope for EU Lithium independence.

The Bikita mine is one of the largest lithium mines in Zimbabwe. The mine is located in southern part of the country in Masvingo Province, known for its natural beauty.  Bikita mine is run by Bikita Minerals, Zimbabwe’s largest Lithium producer. In 2017 according to sources Bikita Minerals spend around USD 7 millions on equipment upgrade and further geological expansion.

Learn about existing and prospective operations in the reviving Zimbabwean economy. 

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