Mineral Resources Ltd will restart operations at the Wodgina lithium mine it owns with Albemarle Corp next year, the Australian miner said on Monday, on improving demand for the metal used in making electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
Lithium prices have soared to more than three-year highs as the green transition is set to see a surge in demand for electric vehicles.
The mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has a capacity to process 750,000 tonnes per year of spodumene concentrate, a mineral from which lithium is extracted, but has been idle since November 2019 when the lithium market was weak.
The production would restart in the third quarter of 2022 initially, with one of the three 250,000 tonnes per year processing lines, and the other two coming online as demand rises, Mineral Resources said.
Shares of Mineral Resources, which also mines iron ore, surged as much as 7.2% in early trade, their sharpest rise since April this year.
Albemarle owns 60% of the Wodgina mine with Mineral Resources holding the rest.
(By Riya Sharma and Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Rashmi Aich)