Mineral Resources, the Australian miner and infrastructure specialist, has signed a deal to sell a 50% stake in its Wodgina Lithium Project to form a joint venture with American battery metals goliath Albemarle.
The joint venture, that will produce spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide, follows the announcement of the signing of an exclusivity agreement and commercially agreed key terms with Albemarle on 21 November 2018 which was the culmination of a global sale process that generated strong interest from a range of global participants in the battery minerals and chemicals value chain.
Mineral Resources will be solely responsible for constructing and funding the fixed infrastructure, utility and processing plants required to produce 750,000 tonnes per year of 6% spodumene concentrate with the future lithium hydroxide plants to be jointly funded by both parties.
Meanwhile, Albemarle will also develop a plant producing lithium hydroxide around 100km from Port Hedland in Western Australia’s iron ore hotbed.
Mineral Resources Managing Director Chris Ellison commented: “I am extremely pleased we have been able to complete definitive documentation with Albemarle on the sale of a 50% interest in Wodgina and the formation of a 50:50 joint venture. It is very apparent to me that there is an extremely good fit between the corporate cultures and skillsets of our respective businesses. Mineral Resources is widely recognised as a leading provider of mining services and mine site operations in Australia along with having a high-quality mine to ship logistics supply chain in the Pilbara.
“Our proven local Western Australian capability is extremely well complemented by Albemarle’s proven technical downstream processing expertise and their international marketing capabilities in lithium. Our organisations share the same vision to develop Wodgina, a tier one asset, as a world class, 30-plus year integrated lithium operation together.
“I am confident that with Mineral Resources and Albemarle working together at Wodgina, we will produce and supply high quality, competitively priced lithium products into the market to meet increasing global requirements for these important energy storage products. I look forward to working constructively with Albemarle to satisfy the outstanding conditions to allow the transaction to be completed in 2019.”