Albemarle, MinRes to seal $1.2bn Wodgina acquisition

The Wodgina operation. Image: MinRes.

Albemarle Corporation has received the green light from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to acquire a 60 per cent interest in Mineral Resources’ (MinRes) Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia.

This paves the way for the companies to form a 60:40 joint venture (JV) to operate the Wodgina lithium mine and batter-grade lithium hydroxide production facilities.

MinRes had previously increased the interest being sold to Albemarle from 50 per cent to 60 per cent, in a deal worth $US820 million ($1.2 billion).

Under the arrangements, Albemarle will transfer 40 per cent interest from its first two 25,000 tonnes a year lithium hydroxide conversion units being built in Kemerton, Western Australia.

Once the construction is complete, the Kemerton operation will process spodumene produced at Wodgina.

MinRes expects the acquisition to complete within the next 10 business days.

“The revised structure preserves the key features of the original transaction while reducing the overall funding requirements for both parties,” MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said in August.

“It also provides an opportunity for MinRes to participate in the development of the Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant, which will provide MinRes with an interest in an operational lithium hydroxide facility sooner than previously planned through the Wodgina development.”

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