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Mineral Resources set for significant lithium growth - exec

16th November 2023

By: Reuters

  

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SYDNEY - Diversified miner Mineral Resources expects to double lithium output in Western Australia over the next financial year after lithium buyouts and due to planned expansion at a mine it co-owns with chemicals giant Albemarle, it said on Thursday.

The Australian mining services provider has transformed itself into the world's second largest producer of lithium raw material spodumene this year and has surprised markets with a flurry of strategic stake acquisitions in lithium developers.

"You would have seen in the paper that I have been gathering up rock wherever I can," founder and Managing Director Chris Ellison told a shareholder meeting on Thursday. "It's not going to last forever."

The miner expects to have wrapped up its consolidation of lithium companies by mid next year and is considering whether and where it will build a lithium chemicals conversion plant, Ellison said.

"Somewhere down the track I think we will end up doing partnerships with some of the big guys, Mercedes, Volkswagen and figure out who is going to pay for the conversion - but it won't be MinRes," he said.

MinRes runs three lithium operations in the state. The Wodgina mine, in which it has a 50% stake with the balance owned by top chemicals maker Albemarle, is undergoing a major expansion beyond its capacity of 250,000 tonnes.

It half owns Mt Marion with Ganfeng Lithium and bought out Bald Hill, from receivership earlier this year.

All this sets it up to double its lithium production this financial year to more than 800 000 tonnes of spodumene while a future expansion at Wodgina would take production towards one-million tonnes a year.

Ellison also referred to sky-rocketing growth from its mining services business that will make it Australia's biggest mining services provider next year.

It increased headcount by nearly half last year as it also brings online its Onslow iron ore operations and expands its natural gas holdings.

Edited by Reuters

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