Proposal to launch South Korea NCM black mass lithium payable assessment: pricing notice

Fastmarkets proposes to launch an assessment of the lithium payable as part of its set of weekly price assessments for black mass in the CIF South Korea market, in response to there being more trade making use of lithium payables in the Asian markets and demand from the market for greater transparency.

Weekly assessments of nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) and nickel cobalt aluminium (NCA) black mass payable indicators for nickel and cobalt, cif South Korea, were launched on Wednesday May 17.
The traditional method of pricing NCM black mass has been to provide payables for nickel and cobalt including the value of lithium, which has been the market activity captured by Fastmarkets’ pricing methodologies so far.
But because of the rise in lithium prices through May and most of June 2023, payables for black mass have trended upward, together with a greater prevalence of separate payables for lithium being demanded by sellers. Buyers agreed that they would soon be under greater pressure to accept that they must pay the lithium payables.
Many companies active in the black mass and battery recycling markets have also said, in recent meetings with Fastmarkets, that they wish to see a breakout of lithium, nickel and cobalt payable values to increase transparency in the market.
If the proposed change takes place, and Fastmarkets proceeds to launch an NCM black mass lithium payable, it was likely that there would be a one-time, downward non-market adjustment carried out on both the nickel and cobalt payable indicators that are currently published by Fastmarkets.
This was because the method of pricing the black mass will move away from inclusion of the value of lithium in the nickel and cobalt payables.
The proposed specifications are:
Black mass, NCM/NCA, payable indicator, lithium, cif South Korea, % payable of lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices, cif China, Japan & Korea
Quality: Nickel- and cobalt-rich black mass composed with metal content of 15-25% nickel, 5-15% cobalt, 3-5% lithium, max 6% aluminium, max 2% copper. Minimum total cobalt and nickel content of 20%.
Quantity: min one container load
Location: Cost insurance and freight (CIF) main ports, South Korea. Data points for South Korean domestic trade may be normalized based on information provided by market participants.
Timing: 45 days
Unit: % payable of Fastmarkets’ lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices, cif China, Japan & Korea, $ per kg
Payment terms: Letter of credit
Publication: Weekly, Wednesdays 6-7pm Singapore time.
Notes: Material must be dried and free-flowing.
The consultation period for this proposed assessment will end 30 days after the date of this pricing notice, on August 14. The launch will take place, subject to market feedback, beginning with the weekly assessment on Wednesday August 16, 2023.
To provide feedback on this proposal, or if you would like to provide price information by becoming a data submitter to this assessment, please contact Lee Allen by email at: Please add the subject heading: “FAO: Lee Allen re: Asia black mass payable indicators.”
To see all Fastmarkets’ pricing methodology and specification documents, go to:

Lee Allen


Lee Allen

July 13, 2023

18:48 GMT