Talison Lithium, a partnership between China’s Tianqi and U.S. group Albemarle, obtained an environmental approval for the A$516-million ($361m) expansion of the Greenbushes mine in Western Australia.
Tianqi Lithium Mining News
Tianqi's $4.1B purchase of a 24% stake in SQM went through in December, but the Chinese firm has faced push back.
The world’s No.3 producer of the metal used in electric vehicle batteries said the candidates will be “fair” and “responsible toward shareholders”.
While the decision is final and not subject to appeal, one legal hurdle remains — Pampa Group, which controls SQM, earlier this month filed an additional appeal with Chile’s TDLC antitrust court.
Nutrien’s executive vice-president Michael Webb, described Julio Ponce, the Chilean miner’s top shareholder and former chairman, as a “hypocrite” and urged him to “look beyond himself."
The Constitutional Court said it would hear arguments in the case on Oct. 22.
The final deal size could be smaller than $1 billion due to a steep drop in lithium carbonate prices.
The $87.5-million deal is the latest Chinese acquisition of a lithium project in South America, following Tianqi Lithium’s decision to buy 24% of SQM for $4.1 billion, which has not yet been approved by Chile’s antitrust regulator.
The expansion, on top of a $238 million upgrade due for completion in April, will double the mine’s production to 1.95 million tonnes a year of lithium concentrate a year from 2020.
Trial dates have been set to determine whether expansion at the Greenbushes mine, in which Tianqi Lithium holds a stake, would impact its mineral rights.
Chengdu-based Tianqi is seeking to almost triple production capacity through 2020.
There is an emerging oligopoly in one of the hottest elements on the periodic table, lithium.