(Added details on business expansion, strategy and background)
Diversified mining group Mineral Resources MIN.AX plans to double its lithium production in the next fiscal year after lithium purchases in Western Australia and a planned expansion at a mine it jointly owns with chemical company Albemarle, he said on Thursday.
The Australian mining services provider turned itself into the world’s second-largest producer of lithium raw material spodumene this year and surprised markets with a series of acquisitions of strategic stakes in lithium developers.
“You should have seen in the papers that I took rock wherever I could,” Chris Ellison, the company’s founder and chief executive, said at a shareholder meeting on Thursday. “It’s not going to last forever.
Mr. Ellison said.
“I think somehow we will partner with some big names, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and find out who will pay for the change – but it won’t be MinRes,” he said.
MinRes operates three lithium mines in the state. The Wodzina mine, in which MinRes holds a 50% stake and the rest is held by chemicals maker Albemarle ALB.N, is undergoing a major expansion beyond its 250,000 tonne capacity.
It owns half of Mount Marion with Confeng Lithium and bought Bald Hill, which was in receivership earlier this year.
All this allows it to double its lithium production this financial year, to more than 800,000 tonnes of spodumene, while a future expansion at Wodjina will increase production by 1 million tonnes per year.
Mr Ellison also discussed the meteoric growth of its mining services business, which will become Australia’s largest mining services provider next year.
It halved its workforce last year while operating its Onslow iron ore facilities and expanding its natural gas business.
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