Joint venture (JV) partners Albemarle Corporation and Mineral Resources are set to restart the Wodgina lithium mine in Western Australia next year.
Albemarle has 60 per cent interest in the MARBL JV that owns the mine, with Mineral Resources owning the remaining 40 per cent.
Wodgina, which was placed on care and maintenance in November 2019 due to weak market conditions, will restart in the third quarter of 2022.
The site contains a processing capacity of 750,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate.
The MARBL JV will first restart Wodgina’s 250,000 tonne per annum processing lines with the start-up and operation to add 200 full-time jobs.
Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said the restart would meet growing demand for lithium.
“We are delighted that the MARBL JV has decided to restart Wodgina, a world-class lithium opportunity that Mineral Resources developed into a mine with world-class potential,” Ellison said.
“It was the correct decision in late 2019 to place Wodgina on care and maintenance though it never dented our confidence in lithium’s long-term positive demand fundamentals.
“As we said at the time and repeat today, in Albemarle we have the best partner to deliver maximum and sustainable value from world-class assets like Wodgina.”
The MARBL JV was formed specifically for the Wodgina project and operation of the Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion assets.
“Lithium is one of Mineral Resources’ two core commodities, alongside iron ore, and we have worked very hard over the past five years to establish long life operations for both,” Ellison said.
“Wodgina, along with our 50 per cent-owned Mt Marion lithium project in Western Australia’s Goldfields and the soon-to-be-completed 40 per cent-owned Kemerton hydroxide facility, give Mineral Resources a world-class portfolio of highest-quality, long-life lithium assets in a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction.”
The Wodgina project is located 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland and is powered by a 64-megawatt gas-fired power plant.