Mineral Resources inks $1.15B lithium JV deal with Albemarle

MRL is already developing the Mt Marion lithium project 40km south west of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, with partners Neometals Ltd (13.8%) and one of China’s largest lithium producers, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium (43.1%). (Image courtesy of Mineral Resources.)

Australian miner and infrastructure supplier Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) signed Friday a binding deal to sell a stake in its Wodgina Lithium Project and form a joint venture with US-based battery metals giant Albemarle for $1.15 billion.

The agreement gives Albemarle a 50% interest in all mineral rights within the Wodgina tenements, other than iron-ore, which Mineral Resources will retain, and Tantalum, which is held by Global Advanced Metals Greenbushes.

Move seems to indicate that Albemarle is favouring hard-rock lithium in Western Australia over lithium brine production in South America.

The joint venture will allow the American lithium producer, the world’s No. 1, to expand its presence in Australia.

The move seems to indicate that Albemarle is favouring hard-rock lithium in Western Australia over lithium brine production in South America. The company is also a joint venture partner to China’s Tianqi Lithium to develop the Greenbushes mine and processing plant in Western Australia.

Albemarle not only will own and operate the Wodgina mine, but it will also develop a plant producing lithium hydroxide, about 100 kilometres from Port Hedland in Western Australia’s iron ore heartland.

After construction and ramp-up of the concentration plant, the joint venture is expected to produce up to 750,000 tonnes a year of 6% spodumene concentrate.

The sale of the half Wodgina comes two years after MinRes bought it from Global Advanced Metals.

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