The Supreme Court of WA has paved the way for Mineral Resources (MinRes) to acquire its third lithium mine in WA.
Bald Hill has been shuttered since 2019 when owner Alita Resources went into administration during a lithium price plunge.
Earlier this month, MinRes entered into an implementation agreement with Alita’s administrators, McGrathNicol, for the acquisition of Bald Hill. However, putting Alita into liquidation required the assent of the Supreme Court, which was handed down this week.
With Alita moving to liquidation, administrators are free to arrange the sale of Bald Hill to MinRes.
If successfully acquired, Bald Hill would become MinRes’ third WA lithium producing mine among the company’s Wodgina and Mt Marion assets, which recently saw resource updates. Mt Marion, which sits just northwest of Bald Hill, received a sizeable 107 per cent bump in its mineral resource. MinRes chief executive officer Chris Ellison also indicated that Mt Marion shows potential for expansion into underground mining.
Bald Hill’s last resource update is roughly five years old. At the time, the mine was known to host a lithium resource of 26.5 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.0 per cent lithium oxide and 149 parts per million (ppm) tantalum; along with an additional tantalum resource of 4.4Mt at 336ppm tantalum.
Bald Hill also hosts lithium and tantalum ore reserves of 11.3Mt and 2.0Mt respectively.
Before operations ceased, an exploration campaign identified an additional target resource of 17Mt to 24Mt, grading 1.25 per cent to 1.40 per cent lithium and 150 to 180ppm tantalum.
MinRes this week sought US$850 million ($1.34 billion) in debt funding from the US bond market. Interesting, the company indicated earlier this month that it did not intend to raise equity to fund the purchase of Bald Hill, which is expected to cost several hundred million.