Good times are ahead for lithium miners as prices continue to surge

Flamingos at Salar de Atacama, home to lithium mines. (Image courtesy of Dan Lundberg | Flickr Commons..)

Good times are ahead for producers of lithium, the battery material that’s key to the electrification of transportation.

Albemarle Corp., the world’s No. 1 miner of the silvery, white metal, boosted profit forecasts for the year as lithium prices soar due to demand from electric vehicles. The third biggest miner, Livent Corp., did the same.

The popularity of electric vehicles has driven prices for battery metals sharply higher, even sparking fears of shortages of materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel. Lithium supplies are a concern in particular because there’s no substitution for it in electric vehicle batteries. A gauge of lithium prices more than doubled in the first four months of this year after surging 280% last year.

Albemarle raised its profit and sales guidance for the full year, citing pricing in its lithium and bromine businesses. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company’s first-quarter earnings also topped expectations. Shares jumped as much as 19% to $256.46 in after-market trading.

Livent almost doubled its 2022 earnings guidance on higher price assumptions for the year. Shares rose as much as 31% to $28.62 Wednesday, the biggest intraday gain on record.

(By Yvonne Yue Li)


Your email address will not be published.