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Albemarle completes $1.3bn lithium joint venture with MRL

US company Albemarle has concluded the transaction with Australia's Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) under the asset sale and share subscription agreement.

The agreement was initially signed on 14 December 2018 and amended on 01 August 2019.

The 60:40 joint venture (JV) between Albemarle and MRL is named as MARBL Lithium JV (MARBL).

Under the terms of the agreement, Albemarle has purchased a 60% stake in MRL’s Wodgina spodumene mine in Western Australia (WA) for $1.3bn.

It will pay $820m in cash and transfer a 40% interest in two 25ktpa lithium hydroxide conversion trains being built at Kemerton, WA, to MRL.

MARBL will manage Wodgina mine and the Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion trains operations. This will allow Albemarle to market 100% of the output from the Wodgina and Kemerton conversion trains.

Albemarle CEO Luke Kissam said: “Over the past year, we have worked closely together and are even more confident that our investment will produce substantial, long-term value.

“In the short term, we have made the prudent decision to idle mine activity until market conditions improve. However, we are well-positioned for future growth given the high-quality Wodgina resource and the combined operating expertise of both companies.”

Albemarle noted that the 50ktpa lithium hydroxide conversion capacity at Kemerton is scheduled for commissioning in the first half of 2021.

The company mentioned Wodgina mine will idle production of spodumene based on current market trends.

Albemarle funded the transaction by borrowing over $900m under an unsecured credit facility.

The company started construction work on the Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant in March this year.

Metals & mining industry deals in September 2019 total $2.52bn globally

The total value of metals & mining industry deals announced globally in September 2019 was $2.52bn, according to GlobalData’s deals database. The value marked an increase of 23.6% over the previous month and a drop of 53.8%  compared with the last 12-month average of $5.45bn. In terms of number of deals, the sector saw a drop of 10.7% over the last 12-month average. In value terms, Asia-Pacific led the activity with deals worth $1.37bn.

Metals & mining industry M&As in September 2019 total $1.9bn

The metals & mining industry M&A deals announced in September 2019 were worth a total $1.9bn globally, according to GlobalData’s deals database. The value marked a decrease of 6.7% over the previous month and a drop of 63.4% from the last 12-month average of $5.18bn. Asia-Pacific held the top position in terms of value, with total announced deals in the period worth $1.37bn. The top country in terms of M&A deals activity in the month was Canada with 28 deals, followed by Australia with 18 and the US with 14.

Inalum to acquire 20% stake in Vale Indonesia

Vale subsidiary PT Vale Indonesia, along with its shareholders Vale Canada and Sumitomo Metal Mining has signed a heads of agreement with PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum). As part of the agreement, Inalum intends to acquire PT Vale’s 20% divested shares to fulfil the latter’s divestment obligation. The two companies did not disclose the value of the deal.

CATL to buy stake in Pilbara Minerals in Australia for A$55m

Chinese battery company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has announced it will buy an 8.5% stake in Australian lithium mining company Pilbara Minerals for around $37.5m (A$55m). CATL will pay A$0.30 each for over 183 million shares in the company, which the Financial Times notes was 14% less than Pilbara’s share price at the close of trading on 5 September.

Glencore signs cobalt supply deal with China’s GEM

Glencore has signed a five-year deal with China's GEM to supply a minimum of 61,200 tonnes of cobalt per year starting from 2020. The fee for the deal was not disclosed. Glencore head of marketing for copper and cobalt Nico Paraskevas said: "This long term partnership provides Glencore with a stable outlet for a significant portion of its expected future cobalt hydroxide production.”

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