Australian lithium auction sees record bid as world prices surge

Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium operation, Western Australia. Credit: Pilbara Minerals

An auction of lithium from an Australian miner just attracted its highest-ever winning bid.

Pilbara Minerals Ltd. said a buyer will pay the equivalent of $7,708 a ton for spodumene concentrate — a partly-processed form of lithium — delivered to China. The sale of the 5,000-ton cargo on Tuesday compares with a top bid of $7,012 at the last auction on the miner’s Battery Material Exchange in early August.

The jump is roughly in line with gains for refined lithium in China, where prices of the battery material have been racking up new records since last week as robust demand from electric vehicles meets tightening supply. Rocketing costs threaten to worsen pressure in the supply chain that’s already eroding profits and prompting battery producers to hike their own selling prices.

Soaring prices are already worrying authorities in China. Officials last week asked major lithium firms to ensure that prices don’t deviate too much from production costs, and urged consumers to strike long-term agreements.

(By Annie Lee)


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *