MinRes builds on Albemarle JV with updated lithium deal

The Wodgina operation. Image: MinRes.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has revised its arrangements with Albemarle in Western Australia for the partial sale of the Wodgina lithium project and acquisition of an interest in the Kemerton hydroxide facility.

Under the revised arrangements, MinRes will increase the interest being sold in the Wodgina project to Abemarle from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

MinRes will consequently form a 60:40 joint venture to operate the Wodgina lithium mine and battery-grade lithium hydroxide production facilities.

Albemarle will pay $US820 million ($1.2 billion) in cash at closing and transfer a 40 per cent interest in the first two 25,000 tonnes per annum lithium hydroxide conversion units currently being built by Albemarle in Kemerton, near Bunbury in Western Australia.

Once complete, the Kemerton operation will be capable of processing spodumene produced at Wodgina.

The joint venture will assess the optimal use of the Kemerton modules and processing of Wodgina spodumene, which may include offshore processing and the substation of other feedstock.

Both parties retain the option to develop new downstream processing facilities at Wodgina or another location, should market condition be supportive.

MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said the revised arrangement was testament to the strong working relationship developed over the past seven months as the companies worked to implement the proposed joint venture.

“The revised structure preserves the key features of the original transaction while reducing the overall funding requirements for both parties,” he said.

“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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