IGO, Tianqi to close JV deal by end of June

Australia-listed IGO Ltd is one step closer to forming a joint venture with Chinese lithium producer Tianqi Lithium after key regulatory requirements for the internal restructuring of the Australasian arm of the latter to proceed have been satisfied, IGO said on Tuesday June 22.

In December 2020, both companies signed an initial investment agreement which saw Tianqi’s wholly-owned subsidiary Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia Pty Ltd (TLEA) bring in IGO as a strategic investor.

Meanwhile, the Australian Taxation Office has confirmed the tax migration of TLEA to Australia, according to IGO.

The two parties are aiming to complete the deal by the end of June 2021 once the remaining steps required to complete the internal restructuring are completed, IGO added.

“We are delighted to have reached this important milestone and we look forward to formally commencing our joint venture with Tianqi in the coming weeks,” Peter Bradford, IGO’s managing director and chief executive officer, said.

TLEA will initially focus on the commissioning of Train 1 at the Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery, as well as working with the company’s partner, Albemarle, on the expansion opportunities at the Greenbushes lithium mine, according to Bradford.

“Demand for high quality spodumene and lithium hydroxide has increased significantly over recent months, promising strong returns to our shareholders as this trend, driven by global decarbonisation and electric vehicle demand, continues into the future,” he added.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan & Korea rose to $14-16 per kg on June 17, up by 9.1% from $13-14.50 per kg one week ago. The price is up by 66.7% so far this year.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for spodumene 6% Li2O min narrowed upward to $650-720 per tonne cif China on May 26, from $640-720 per tonne cif China on April 28. The feedstock price has surged by 73.4% since the end of last year.

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