Ganfeng and Mineral Resources now each own a 50% stake in the project, after paying A$103.8 million ($73.66 million) for Neometals’ equity interest.

The agreement includes a binding life-of-mine offtake option for 57,000 tonnes per year of Mount Marion’s output of lithium spodumene, min 6%, giving Neometals access to feedstock for lithium chemicals.

Mount Marion produced 418,711 tonnes of lithium spodumene in 2018.

Neometals will now focus on developing its Barrambie titanium and vanadium project in Western Australia and completing its lithium-ion battery recycling pilot plant in Canada.

“We will continue to take a very measured approach to capital allocation and the timing of investment decisions of multiple advanced projects in our portfolio,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.

“We are fortunate that, despite challenging capital markets, we retain significant flexibility and optionality with respect to the timing, [amount] and structure of investment into the development of our portfolio of projects,” he added.

Neometals is also planning to become a lithium chemical producer by developing its Kalgoorlie Lithium Refinery project in Australia.

The project is expected to have capacity for 10,000 tonnes per year of lithium hydroxide and to begin production in mid-2021.