Lithium producers race to dominate South American output: Roskill – by Ben Kilbey (S&P Global Platts – November 26, 2018)

London — There is a battle to be the “supreme” lithium producer in South America, with Chile now facing competition from other countries on the continent, research outlet Roskill Information Services said Monday.

Speaking at the annual Mines & Money exhibition in London, Robert Baylis, managing director of Roskill, said the global shift away from carbon to renewables and electric was creating a massive demand boost for lithium.

Baylis said he sees lithium demand growing at around 30% annually, from around 94,000 mt in 2018 to 1 million mt and above from the late 2020s. However, he cautioned that recent price volatility and weakness could be putting off increased investment on the supply side.

Despite the inactivity of the seaborne spot market, S&P Global Platts lowered both the lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide CIF North Asia assessments last week as market participants have been indicating lower values sequentially over recent weeks.

Platts assessed battery-grade lithium carbonate on Friday down $800/mt week on week at $13,000/mt, while lithium hydroxide tumbled $800/mt to $16,000/mt, both on a CIF North Asia basis. The assessments reflect deliveries in the main ports of China, Japan and South Korea.

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