Australian mining company Core Lithium has initiated a strategic review in response to the significant downturn in lithium market conditions. 

Prices for spodumene concentrate, or high-purity lithium ore, have dropped 80% year to date, with a decrease of more than 40% since the end of October 2023 alone, according to Core Lithium

The company operates the only lithium mine in the Northern Territory.

While the company has been producing concentrates for ten months, the recent price decline has prompted it to explore various cost-cutting and productivity-enhancing measures. 

These include potentially curtailing operations temporarily, seeking commercial solutions, and trimming exploration and other discretionary spending.

The strategic review will focus on maintaining business value as well as future options.

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By GlobalData

In line with this objective and the need to reduce expenses, Core Lithium has halted early works at the BP33 site near Darwin.

Core Lithium said it has accumulated a substantial run-of-mine stockpile and plans to continue processing ore and producing spodumene concentrate throughout the wet season. 

This November, the company shipped 10,188 tonnes of concentrate and 16,246 tonnes of fines, with another shipment of lithium ore set to be shipped this month. 

The miner is in the process of negotiating with contractors and suppliers to identify potential cost savings. The extent of these savings is yet to be determined.

Core Lithium CEO Gareth Manderson said: “The team at Core are working at pace on all options to optimise our business and position it as well as possible in the current lithium pricing environment. While we are experiencing market volatility today, our focus is on the continued safe and efficient operation of the Finniss project while preserving the value of our operating asset, projects and exploration potential.”