Shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) have surged almost 27% on news of a potential joint venture deal with American lithium powerhouse Albemarle Corporation. If executed, the agreement will see lithium producer acquire half of the Wodgina lithium project in WA currently owned by Mineral Resources. Albermarle will agree to pay$US1.58 billion for their stake which is based on the projects $US2.3 billion value and will allow them exclusive rights to 50% of the Wodgina project.
The deal does not include any iron ore deposits on the site,which will be fully retained by Mineral Resources as well as any tantalum currently held by Global Advanced Metals through a separate deal. The joint venture at Wodgina could potentially produce up to 750 000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate for use as feed stock to Albermarle’s lithium hydroxide processing facility which is currently under construction.
MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said the joint venture would work well for both parties.
“Our proven local Western Australian capability is extremely well complemented by Albemarle’s proven technical downstream processing expertise and their international marketing capabilities in lithium and other energy storage minerals,”
“Our organisations share the same vision to develop Wodgina, a tier one asset, as a world-class, 30-plus year integrated lithium operation together.”Under the agreement, both companies have until mid December to exclusively negotiate the proposed joint venture.