Mineral Resources (MinRes) has entered into binding agreements for the restructuring of the MARBL joint venture and the investment of lithium conversion assets in China with Albemarle Corporation.
Under the agreement, MinRes will own 50 per cent of the Wodgina lithium mine in Marble Bar, WA, up from its current 40 per cent ownership.
The Kemerton lithium plant will also see a change in ownership amount, with Albemarle increasing to 85 per cent from 60, and MinRes dropping down to 15 per cent from 40.
There will also be an establishment of a 50:50 joint venture to produce lithium battery chemicals.
Albemarle is expected to pay MinRes a completion adjustment currently estimated at $150 million.
In a bid to increase its lithium assets in China, MinRes will acquire 50 per cent interest in Albemarle’s 100-per-cent-owned Qinzhou and Meishan plants.
The Meishan plant is currently under construction and has a design capacity of 50,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).
“We are delighted to have reached these binding agreements, which cement MinRes’ place as a world-leader in lithium mining and leverage our partner Albemarle’s strong track record in battery chemical production,” MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said.
“MinRes is proud to operate in Western Australia, a jurisdiction that leads the world in ethical mining practices and is backed by governments focused on growing the battery minerals supply chain.
“We’ve always been committed to giving back to the local community, including by working in partnership with the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate to deliver long-lasting and sustainable benefits. We also continue to study options to invest in capacity for future downstream lithium production in Australia.
“By growing our battery chemicals business and expanding into global chemical marketing, MinRes will become one of the world’s largest fully integrated lithium chemical suppliers to auto manufacturers, capitalising on the increasing demand for sustainable battery mineral products.”