Argus Media Limited

10/12/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/11/2021 22:54

Australia's Port Hedland increases September Li exports

Lithium concentrate (spodumene) exports from the West Australian port of Port Hedland rose sharply in September, in line with rising global demand in the battery materials supply chain.

Exports of spodumene rose to 62,230 dry metric tonnes (dmt) in September from 10,494dmt in August and 26,383dmt in July, according to monthly data from the Pilbara Ports Authority.

September's exports comprised three shipments to China and one to South Korea, compared to a single shipment to China in August.

While August's export figure was the lowest in several months despite the significant demand and price recovery in the lithium sector, the September total was one of the highest recorded since spodumene exports began.

Lithium exports from Port Hedland totalled 280,596dmt in the first nine months of 2021 compared to 250,257dmt in the first nine months of 2020. This year's year-to-date total was lower than last year's, until the addition of September data, which was more than double that of 26,647dmt in September last year.

Copper concentrate exports decreased to 20,101t in September from 21,603t in August and 22,119t in July. There were two shipments in September, one each to Philippines and South Korea, compared to two shipments to Japan in August. There were again no shipments to China.

Out of the 219,593t of copper concentrate exported in January-September - compared to 232,056t in the same period of 2020 - only 10,167t has gone to China, which used to be the most regular destination for copper from Port Hedland. A trade disagreement between Australia and China last year has led to significantly lower copper concentrate exports from Australian ports to the world's largest copper consumer, and significantly higher volumes going to other Asian countries and Europe.

There was one manganese ore shipment to China in September totalling 73,500t, compared to two shipments to China in August totalling 131,389t and two shipments to China in July totalling 171,174t. Manganese ore shipments for the first nine months of this year totalled 736,298t compared to 856,813t in the first nine months of 2020.

By Angus Macmillan