Current spodumene market conditions in China are deteriorated by delays in the construction, commissioning and ramp-up of chemical conversion facilities that handle spodumene concentrate supply.
Especially Pilbara Minerals offtake partners Ganfeng and General Lithium need more time to bring their new lines to capacity. In addition, Tianqi's Kwinana plant shows massive cost overruns and a fundamental delay. The impact from this delay will be seen in October, when Greenbushes expansion will go online.
Consistent with the current trading conditions for lithium raw materials in China, spodumene concentrate pricing has also continued to soften and is currently in a range of approximately USD$600CIF China with further expectation to go down. Pilbara Minerals has decided to cut production from Pilgangoora.
This measure will lead to massive cost rising, which could cut the profit completely. The postponement of the planned expansions #2 and #3 is a must. The share price will go down, I expect.
Chinese converters also increased their inventories when prices started to come down at the beginning of this year. This results in lower demand now, where they are seeking to bring their inventory levels back to normal.
As spot prices are becoming more important as in the past, maybe the price levels at the moment do not show the floor.