Australian lithium miner Neometals produced 15.33% less
lithium spodumene year on year in the October-December
quarter of 2018, the company reported on Wednesday January
The quarter’s output from the flagship Mount
Marion asset in Western Australia was 94,000 tonnes of lithium
spodumene, compared with 111,023 tonnes produced in the
Output of higher-grade lithium spodumene (min 6% Li2O) in
the three months was 69,000 tonnes, equating to 73.40% of the
The remaining 25,000 tonnes of the material produced was
lower-grade lithium spodumene (min 4% Li2O), or 26.59% of total
production for the quarter.
Shipment volumes of lithium spodumene to offtaker Jiangxi
Ganfeng Lithium increased by 2.46% in the December quarter to
93,561 tonnes, from 91,313 tonnes in the September quarter.
The price achieved for minimum 6% lithium spodumene across
the fourth quarter was $931 per tonne cfr, according to the
agreed pricing formula.
Fastmarkets’ monthly assessment showed the
lithium spodumene price at $600-750 per tonne cif China on
January 30. This was steady from December but down by 6.89%
from $650-800 per tonne on November 28.
Lithium spodumene prices softened at the end of 2018 due to
the lower prices reported in China over the course of the year,
against which the lithium spodumene prices are calculated.
Fastmarkets’ assessment of the spot price for
battery-grade lithium carbonate, min 99.5% Li2CO3, ex-works
China, was down by 49.50% to 73,000-81,000 yuan
($10,760-11,940) per tonne on January 24. This compared with
150,000-155,000 yuan per tonne on February 1, 2018.
Divestment agreement, Kalgoorlie lithium
During the December quarter, Neometals agreed to divest its
equity interest in Mt Marion to fellow shareholder Ganfeng.
Neometals will sell its 13.8% shares in subsidiary Reed
Industrial Minerals to Ganfeng in exchange for A$103.8 million
($73.55 million) in cash and a binding life-of-mine offtake
option for 57,000 tonnes per year of Mt Marion’s
output of lithium spodumene, min 6%.
Ganfeng currently owns 43.1% of Mt Marion through Reed
Industrial Minerals. Mineral Resources owns the remaining
Separately, the final review of the Kalgoorlie lithium
refinery front-end engineering and design study is expected in
The refinery is expected to have capacity for 10,000 tpy of
lithium hydroxide, and commissioning is expected to begin by