Australian lithium producer to sell online in transparency push

Australian lithium producer to sell online in transparency push
Australian miner Mineral Resources Ltd. will use a digital trading platform to sell parcels of spodumene concentrate, a lithium-bearing mineral, in an effort to bring transparency to the market.

Joshua Thurlow, chief executive of the company’s lithium business, confirmed the move in an emailed response to questions. He did not name the online platform that would be used to sell the ingredient.

Producers like Mineral Resources are part of a bigger push to reduce opacity in the lithium market. Buyers and sellers used to fix prices privately in long-term deals, before the electric-vehicle boom triggered a push toward contracts referencing spot prices. Trading in lithium futures has also taken off, making it easier to hedge.

Albemarle Corp. auctioned 10,000 tons of spodumene concentrate on the Metals Hub Digital Trading Platform earlier this week. Sydney-listed Pilbara Minerals Ltd. accepted a pre-auction offer for the material this month.

The Chinese spot price of lithium carbonate — a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries — has risen over the past month but remains more than 80% lower than the record high set in November 2022.

Mineral Resources last week sold spodumene concentrate at $1,300 a ton, Thurlow said. The price was a 37% increase on previous sales it completed over the past two months, in a sign that lithium prices could be beginning to recover, he added.

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