Mineral Resources ups stake in lithium miner Azure Minerals

Azure owns the majority of the Andover lithium and nickel-copper-cobalt project in Western Australia. (Image courtesy of Azure Minerals.)

Australia’s Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) has acquired additional shares in Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) raising its stake in the battery metals miner to 12.3%.

This comes a week after Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, built up an 18.3% stake in the junior, which is developing the Andover lithium and nickel-copper-cobalt project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. 

The strategic move by Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting aimed at derailing Chilean lithium giant SQM’s (NYSE: SQM) A$1.63 billion ($1bn) bid for Azure, which is still on the table.

Perth-headquartered MinRes began accumulating its stake in Azure in mid-October and has so far invested more than A$210 million in the takeover target. 

MinRes has also boosted its interest in other lithium miners, including Wildcat Resources (ASX: WC8), in which it now holds a 19.85% stake.

MinRes’ other investments in Western Australia’s explorers include deals with Delta Lithium (ASX: DLI), Global Lithium Resources (ASX: GL1) and Essential Metals (ASX: ESS).

A decline in valuations for some lithium producers is making them prime targets for investors trying to find entry points into the clean energy transition and the electric vehicles supply chain trade. 

Shares in Azure have surged 45% to a high of $4.01 since SQM logged its A$3.52 per share takeover bid. The stock closed 4.1% higher on Friday at A$3.85.