Commodities, Exploration/Development, Lithium, News, Production

MRL starry eyed at lithium future

MRL

Mineral Resources (MRL) is getting all its ducks in a row as the company looks to increase its presence in the buoyant lithium market.

The company’s Mt Marion lithium joint venture (JV) in Western Australia produced 104,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate for the March quarter at $US1952 ($2652) per tonne (up 69 per cent on the March quarter of 2021).

However, MRL is not content with its current capacity, announcing several measures in recent months to further uplift Mt Marion and its Wodgina lithium (MARBL) JV in WA.

MRL has agreed, alongside its 50/50 JV partner Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co, to upgrade the Mt Marion processing facilities.

The two-stage plant expansion will increase the installed annual plant capacity from 450,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes of mixed grade product by the end of 2022.

Alongside JV partner Albemarle Corporation, MRL drew down 22,000 tonnes of Wodgina stockpiles during the March quarter, selling spodumene at $US2200 ($2998)/tonne. Wodgina has been on care and maintenance since November 2019.

MRL said its Wodgina restart plans remained on track.

“The restart of spodumene concentrate production from Train 1 is well progressed, with first spodumene concentrate expected in May 2022,” the company said in its quarterly.

“Given strong market demand, the MARBL JV has agreed to accelerate the resumption of production from Train 2, with first spodumene concentrate from this train expected in July 2022.”

“The MARBL JV has also agreed to review the state of the global lithium market towards the end of this calendar year to assess timing for the start-up of Train 3 and the possible construction of Train 4. Each train has a nameplate capacity of 250,000 dry metric tonnes of 6 per cent product.”

Elsewhere, MRL recently acquired a 5 per cent stake in Global Lithium Resources after committing $13.6 million to support the latter’s lithium aspirations.

The investment came as part of Global Lithium’s $29.9 million placement, designed to accelerate exploration programs and associated study work at its Marble Bar and Manna lithium projects in WA.

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