November 17, 2019 / 10:39 PM / 25 days ago

REFILE-Australia's Galaxy Resources to cut costs, volumes at flagship mine

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Nov 18 (Reuters) - Australian lithium miner Galaxy Resources on Monday said it will focus on cutting costs and volumes at its flagship Mt Cattlin mine in 2020, following weak market conditions in the sector.

Galaxy said in a statement it will implement a lower activity mine plan at Mt Cattlin to maintain positive cash margins and preserve resource life.

The miner had announced a review of operations at Mt Cattlin last month, and said it expected to reduce the amount of material mined by about 40%, while forecasting lower output for the full year.

Australian lithium miners have come under pressure in recent months amid plummeting prices for the metal, on falling demand for the battery component after Beijing altered its subsidies to electric vehicle makers and a rise in global trade tensions.

“Production and existing inventory will be sufficient to satisfy contracted commitments and additional product demand in 2020,” the company said in the statement, adding that production can be ramped up quickly should market conditions improve.

Meanwhile, Galaxy also said it was targeting a final investment decision for the first stage of its Sal de Vida lithium and potash brine project in Argentina in between the second and third quarter of 2020, with first production in 2022.

Despite near term headwinds to prices, Galaxy said the current volatility in China New Energy Vehicle sales is transitory and that it forecasts a double digit growth in global demand for the metal over the next decade. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Brown)

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