Australia’s Galaxy Resources achieved record production of lithium spodumene in April while also reducing the cash cost per tonne.
Production at the mine in Western Australia was up by 28.67% from the 17,021 tonnes produced in March this year.
At this production rate, Galaxy could achieve lithium spodumene production at a rate of 260,000 tonnes per year by end of 2019.
The April output compared with the 41,874 tonnes of lithium spodumene produced in the first quarter of 2019, averaging a minimum of 5.75% lithia content. Galaxy also produced 39,780 tonnes of lithium spodumene in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The company expected to produce and ship 45,000-50,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene during the second quarter of 2019.
Galaxy shipped 15,192 tonnes of lithium spodumene in the first quarter of 2019 and 39,682 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The miner also reduced the cash cost per tonne of lithium concentrate produced throughout April by 27.37% to $329 per tonne, compared with $453 per tonne in the first quarter of the year.
“Following a comprehensive review of operations in the latter part of 2018, the team at Mt Cattlin focused on operational improvements and an efficient ramp-up of the newly installed yield optimization circuit throughout the start of 2019,” Anthony Tse, Galaxy’s chief executive officer and managing director, said.
“Aside from quality, the continued reduction in unit production costs ensures that Galaxy has a competitive advantage, allowing the company to continue to deliver a healthy operational cash margin, notwithstanding the recent softening of lithium feedstock and chemical pricing,” he added.
Although Galaxy did not specify the price at which it will ship this material, Fastmarkets’ most recent price assessment on April 24 for spodumene, min 5-6% Li2O, cif China, was $600-700 per tonne. This was down by 30.48% compared with May 2018, when the price was assessed at $900-970 per tonne.
Galaxy was set to produce 180,000-210,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene in 2019, having achieved production of 156,689 tonnes in 2018.