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Hancock Prospecting and CIMIC Group have upped their investments in lithium aspirant Vulcan Energy Resources to the tune of $65 million. But what’s the end game?

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock increased its investment to 7.5 per cent, and CIMIC finished the day with six per cent of Vulcan shares in its pocket.

Vulcan was the first of Rinehart’s forays into the lithium sector, which culminated in a string of buy-ups tipping into the billions at the end of 2023.

Most notable was Rinehart’s sharp investment increase from a 7.72 per cent to 19.9 per cent stake in Liontown Resources, and the $1.7 billion takeover of Azure Minerals executed with SQM.

Hancock is now Vulcan’s second biggest shareholder, having held ‘significant’ investments since January 2021.

Only time will tell if Rinehart’s latest lithium play will lead to another raft of investments in the style of her 2023 spending spree.

The sale price of €2.50 per Vulcan share ($4.08) was a nine per cent discount to the company’s 30-day volume weighted average price of shares trading on the ASX.

Vulcan managing director and chief executive officer Cris Moreno said the strategic investments will help the company maintain momentum on the project timeline and optimise the overall execution program as its move towards final funding and construction.

“Today’s investments into Vulcan by CIMIC Group and Hancock Prospecting come at a particularly exciting time for Vulcan as we make significant headway towards developing Phase One of our flagship integrated renewable energy and Zero Carbon Lithium project,” he said.

“We warmly welcome CIMIC Group in becoming a substantial shareholder and are excited about the increased investment by our long-term shareholder Hancock Prospecting.

“Both parties have demonstrated experience in the delivery of globally significant, major projects and are eminently complementary to Vulcan’s strategy of producing Europe’s first sustainable battery-grade lithium products.”