Lithium carbonate prices fetched about $20 000/t in the first quarter, according to Benchmark, while lithium metal prices traded at over $140 000/t.
“Demand is fundamentally driven by battery demand,” he says, but battery demand is yet to “fully hit home”. “The auto era is yet to arrive. To date, there are no upstream deals with automakers struck yet, with Tesla being the only EV major that has secured some longer-term lithium supply.”
The price curves are not yet being driven by auto contracts, but this is expected to change as auto demand is seen through the increasing rates of battery and cathode consumption.