Chile's SQM and Azure Minerals: Collaboration on Andover Lithium deposit

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

One way or another, Chile’s SQM states its involvement with Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) in developing the highly prospective Andover lithium deposit in the Pilbara region of WA.

Azure has rejected a $2.31-per-share offer from SQM (Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile), valuing the Australian lithium developer at A$901.4 million.

Azure mentioned that the offer price from SQM of $2.31 was well below the year's high of $2.96.

This news caused Azure shares to reach $2.60 on Wednesday before settling at $2.58, marking a 3.2% increase on the day.

Chile’s SQM is a 50% partner with Wesfarmers in the $2 billion Mt. Holland lithium mine and hydroxide mine at Kwinana in Western Australia.

It acquired a 19.99% stake in Azure for A$20 million in March and clearly stated in a statement issued in Chile on Tuesday that it would be remaining with Azure and Andover.

A German investment group holds a 12% stake in Azure, and the highly successful WA prospector, Mark Creasy, and his Yandal Investments group possess around 13.3%.

“As Azure’s largest shareholder, SQM is committed to continuing its collaboration with Azure to define the potential of the Andover lithium project.”

SQM announced that it had appointed Macquarie Capital as a financial advisor and Herbert Smith Freehills as its legal advisor.

The company mentioned that the takeover approaches from SQM were non-binding and carried various conditions, including due diligence and Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

“Azure determined that the approaches did not warrant further engagement by the company, and no further discussions have occurred,” the Australian company responded to recent media speculation.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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