AusBN – China’s biggest lithium producer has agreed to buy 100% of the lithium mined from the Mt Marion mine in Western Australia, sealing the country’s future as a key supplier to the lithium-ion battery industry.
Under the deal, Jingxi Ganfeng Lithium will acquire 25% of the project owned by Reed Industrial Metals, which is a jointly owned subsidiary of Neometals (ASX: NMT) (70%) and Mineral Resources Limited (ASX: MIN) (30%).
The Mt Marion mine is scheduled to start production next year, after which it will ramp up to a production rate of 5,500 tonnes of lithium per year.
This is more lithium than was produced in the whole of China in 2014, which has got Neometals thinking about how else Australia could get involved in the lithium battery revolution.
“Logically, the lithium value add should be able to be extended all the way through the entire battery chain, with some vision and capital,” said Simon Hicks, Neometals manager of stakeholder relations.
“If Tesla’s ideal situation is to have a factory with everything under one roof and raw materials close by – well, WA should be able to supply all of that.”