CRU: Australia Lithium Supply Surges as Miners Target EV Demand

LONDON, Jan 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --Due to their large reserves and low cost structure, Chilean lithium brine operations have long been the mainstay of global lithium supply. But the emergence of Australia as a powerhouse in hard rock mining has prompted evolution of the supply chain.A Major lithium producers which have previously been strongly involved in South American brine operations are now investing in Australian spodumene projects to strengthen their foothold in a burgeoning downstream market.Brines are the long-established source of lithiuma?¦Brine operations have historically dominated global lithium supply, particularly in South America where over 60% of global reserves are hosted. These deposits have been producing for a long time and typically have lower operating costs than hard rock mines.a?¦but brine players are now investing in spodumene minesStrong lithium prices and large market deficits of recent years have prompted significant investment in hard rock lithium mining by brine producers. This has been particularly prevalent in Australia, where all of the country's output comes from spodumene-bearing pegmatite deposits and is ideally located to supply China's refinery sector.One such example is Albemarle. Traditionally a brine operator of the Silver Peak and La Negra brine operations in the USA and Chile respectively, the company has entered into an agreement with Australian hard rock lithium miner Mineral Resources for the creation of a 50/50 joint venture to operate the Wodgina spodumene mine in Pilbara. The plant will be commissioned in three 250,000 t/y stages with the first two modules scheduled to be in operation in Q2 2019 and the third stage in Q3 2019. The firm also holds a 49% stake in Talison Lithium which runs the Greenbushes operation, Australia's incumbent spodumene mine.This deal comes after Chilean brine producer SQM in 2017 purchased a 50% stake in the Earl Grey spodumene operation in Mt Holland, Western Australia. The project is being developed with Kidman Resources.Read the full story: more about CRU: CRU CRU offers unrivalled business intelligence on the global metals, mining and fertilizer industries through market analysis, price assessments, consultancy and events.Since our foundation by Robert Perlman in 1969, we have consistently invested in primary research and robust methodologies, and developed expert teams in key locations worldwide, including in hard-to-reach markets such as China. CRU employs over 260 experts and has more than 10 offices around the world, in Europe, the Americas, China, Asia and Australia a?? our office in Beijing opened in 2004.When facing critical business decisions, you can rely on our first-hand knowledge to give you a complete view of a commodity market. And you can engage with our experts directly, for the full picture and a personalised response.CRU a?? big enough to deliver a high-quality service, small enough to care about all of our customers.
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