Tianqi Group to offload stakes in lithium subsidiary

Image: Tianqi Lithium

Tianqi Lithium has suffered another blow from the softening lithium market after its parent company, Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group, put part of the the company on sale.

In April, Tianqi Lithium considered offloading its Australian lithium and processing assets due to a $US3.5 billion ($5.3 billion) debt owed to China’s CITIC Bank for the purchase of its stake in Chilean miner Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM).

Since purchasing its $US4.1 billion ($6.3 billion) stake in SQM in 2018, prices for lithium carbonate AM-99C-LTCB have fallen by more than 70 per cent.

The tough lithium market conditions have put further strain on Tianqi Lithium and its loans for global investments.

Tianqi Group has a 36.04 per cent stake in Tianqi Lithium, and aims to repay stock pledge financing by selling 6 per cent of its stake in the latter (88.6 million shares), which could raise $200 million.

Tianqi Lithium currently owns a majority stake (51 per cent) in Talison Lithium, which operates the Greenbushes lithium mine in Western Australia.

Albemarle holds the other 49 per cent stake in Talison and has opted to buy all or part of Tianqi Lithium’s holdings.

“We’re interested in it. We’re following it, but we’re also mindful of the current market environment,” Albemarle chief executive Kent Masters previously told investors, according to Reuters.

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