Lending Association

Albermarle’s first auction of spodumene establishes new price level of $1200/t

The unofficial results of Albemarle’s first ever auction of spodumene has confirmed the new price level of around $US1,200 a tonne to $US1,300 a tonne.

Chinese commodity industry websites said the final result of the auction of 10,000 tonnes of Australian spodumene was 9,372 yuan/ton (5.77% grade, tax included). That’s $US1,298 a tonne at the exchange rate of 7.22 yuan to the dollar.

It’s in the ballpark of the pre-auction deal announced on March 14 by Pilbara Minerals. That auction was due for March 18 but was called off after Pilbara accepted an early offer for the 5,000 tonnes at $US1,106/dry metric tonne (dmt) on a SC5.5 CIF China equivalent basis.

Pilbara said that the “offer equates to an approximate price of US$1,200/dmt on a SC6.0 CIF China equivalent basis after adjusting for lithia content and including freight costs.”

That would put the Albermale price on the SC6/0 CIF basis at around $US1,400 a tonne, a bit more than Pilbara’s adjusted price, but not hugely so.

The shipment has been contracted for the December 2024 quarter, because of Pilbara Minerals’ existing offtake commitments. This agreement also means that the company’s forecast production volumes for the 2024 calendar year are largely allocated nd there would be no more auctions through its Battery Minerals Exchange platform this year.

But the market reports in China said Albemarle may hold another spodumene tender in April.

The two auctions confirm the sharply lower spodumene price and the sharply lower lithium hyroxide price for most of this year. The level $US1100 to $US1300 for spodumene is now the base for pricing for the rest of 2024.