Australia’s Allkem flags lower lithium production on tight labour market

Reference photo of the Nissan Leaf battery pack. (Image by Gereon Meyer, Wikimedia Commons).

Australian lithium miner Allkem said on Monday its annual production of spodumene, a source of lithium, would be lower than prior guidance, but expected higher prices for its products on improved market conditions.

Shares of Allkem fell 1.6% to A$11.68, in early trading.

A tight labour market in Western Australia, where much of the country’s mining activities occur, along with covid-19-related border closures, has hit production at mining firms operating in the state.

Allkem now expects spodumene production for the fiscal year 2022 to be between 2% and 4% lower than earlier guided, at between 192,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt) and 196,000 dmt.

Selling prices, however, are expected to come in well over guidance, with lithium carbonate prices in the June quarter expected to average $40,000 per tonne free-on-board, about 14% above its earlier forecast, amid a global boom in commodity prices, the miner said.

It added that strong market conditions also aided spodumene concentrate, with pricing of about $5,000 per tonne in the June quarter.

(By Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Rashmi Aich)

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