Albemarle Corporation has secured an exclusivity agreement with Mineral Resources (MinRes) to potentially acquire half of the Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia for $US1.15 billion ($1.58 billion).
The agreement, based on the project’s $US2.3 billion enterprise value, gives the United States lithium giant exclusive rights to purchase 50 per cent of Wodgina and would see it form a joint venture with MinRes at the Pilbara site if executed.
Albemarle would acquire a 50 per cent interest in all mineral rights at Wodgina outside of iron ore, which would be retained by MinRes, and tantalum, which are held by Global Advanced Metals through a separate arrangement with MinRes.
The JV would potentially produce up to 750,000 tonnes a year of lithium spodumene concentrate at Wodgina for use as feedstock at a lithium hydroxide plant to be constructed by Albemarle.
MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said the two companies were a good fit for the project.
“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 and other energy storage minerals,” he said.
“Our organisations share the same vision to develop Wodgina, a tier one asset, as a world-class, 30-plus year integrated lithium operation together.”
The companies have until December 14 to exclusively negotiate the proposed Wodgina JV under the agreement.
Earlier this month, Albemarle received environmental approval from the Western Australia Government for the $1 billion Kemerton lithium plant. Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine will act as the supplier for the plant.