PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A deep dive by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) into the Australian lithium sector has shown that lithium concentrate exports reached a record high in the month of June, reaching A$1.16-billion.
This was up 1 189%, or A$10.7-billion, from the month of June in 2021.
The ABS noted that for most of 2021, monthly lithium exports did not exceed A$250-million, however, export values started to increase rapidly from late 2021, more than doubling from November to December 2021. From April 2022 to May 2022, exports of lithium almost doubled again, and in June 2022 surpassed A$1-billion for the first time.
For the June quarter of 2022, total lithium exports were A$2.6-billion, up A$2.3-billion, or 737%, from the June quarter 2021. From a state perspective, Western Australia accounted for over 99% of Australian lithium exports in each month since January 2021.
The ABS said this week that the increase in lithium exports was owing to increases in both quantity and unit value. Since January 2021, the unit value increased more than fourfold reflecting the pickup in global demand for lithium.
Most Australian lithium is exported to China, accounting for over 85% of total value in each month of 2021 and over 94% in each month of 2022 in the year-to-date. In June 2022, A$1.12-billlion worth of lithium was exported to China, accounting for 97% of the total lithium exports for that month
The ABS noted that Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of lithium. In 2020, 46% of the world’s lithium came from Australia and exports of lithium are expected to continue to increase and are forecasted to contribute A$9.4-billion in revenue to the Australian economy by 2023/24.