Austroid Corporation is in the process of securing ownership of the mothballed Bald Hill lithium mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.
The United States-based lithium products group intends to immediately invest $60 million in new equipment, processing and construction at the site to enable resumption of production as early as 2021.
Bald Hill has been on care and maintenance since previous owner Alita Resources (previously Alliance Mineral Assets) went into administration last August.
This follows company directors’ decision that the company was insolvent or likely to become insolvent in the future.
Once Bald Hill is fully operational again, Austroid expects to create at least 150 jobs in Western Australia, both at the Bald Hill site and the Port of Esperance.
Austroid managing director Mike Que said the company’s purchase of Bald Hill was driven by the goal of becoming a secure lithium concentrate supplier into the North American market.
“Bald Hill is a quality asset that fits Austroid’s integrated lithium supply strategy to supply our own proposed lithium refinery in Nevada, as well as third-party customers in the United States,” Que said.
“Importantly, Bald Hill’s location in a global tier 1 mining jurisdiction with ready access to a highly skilled local workforce and suppliers, gives us the comfort to invest significant sums into resuming mining operations.
“We look forward to completing the approvals process, including sign-off from the West Australian and federal governments, before we set about resuming operations as early as the first half of 2021.”
Que noted that feedback from Bald Hill stakeholders and the Goldfields community had been “overwhelmingly positive” as they saw Bald Hill’s resurrection beneficial to post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
As part of Austroid’s arrangement to secure Bald Hill, it agreed to purchase a $70 million loan facility agreement between Alita and China Hydrogen Energy Limited (CHEL).
Austroid also proposed an additional deal to restructure Alita to help win the support of Alita’s administrators McGrath Nicol.
The company is in the process of seeking the approval of the foreign investment review board for the acquisition.