Monday 19th Feb, 2018

Lithium prices tipped to peak

Lithium metal. Photo: Creative Commons / Dnn87
Lithium metal. Photo: Creative Commons / Dnn87

The price of lithium will peak in 2018, as new supply comes online from Australian mines to meet the rapid growth in demand for the key electric battery material, according to market analyst Roskill.

Roskill managing director Robert Baylis, quoted by AFR this week, said the number of new mines joining the market in 2018 could risk flooding a market that is still relatively small.

“The big issue is this wave of spodumene supply from Australia,” Baylis was quoted as saying.

“Where is it going to get processed and what is going to happen in terms of competition between producers?

“There is too much coming too quickly … the mine production of spodumene concentrate is outgrowing demand quite significantly.”

Roskill is preparing a report into the lithium-ion battery sector, for release in late February.

“The lithium-ion battery industry has developed rapidly in recent years as existing battery technologies … are replaced and the advent of mass-produced electric vehicles is forecast to transform the raw material requirements for their manufacture,” the analyst said on its website.

“Full electric vehicles [are] forecast to form roughly 8% of global vehicle sales in 2025. Significant investment in battery manufacturing facilities has already been made by major automotive, battery and technology companies, either directly or through the creation of joint ventures, though further investment is expected in the coming years as competition in the industry increases.”