The MARBL lithium joint venture owned by Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN)
and Albemarle Corporation plans to restart operations at the Wodgina Lithium Mine, located in Western Australia.
Mineral Resources owns 40 per cent of the joint venture while Albemarle owns the remaining 60 per cent. MARBL expects Wodgina to safely restart producing spodumene concentrate during the third quarter of 2022, after being placed on care and maintenance in November 2019 due to weak global market conditions.
“We are delighted that the MARBL JV has decided to restart Wodgina, a world-class lithium opportunity that MRL developed into a mine with world-class potential," said managing director Chris Ellison.
Wodgina, 120km south of Port Hedland has installed processing capacity of 750,000tpa of spodumene concentrate. The mine is serviced by its own 64MW gas-fired power plant, a 700-bed accommodation village and an airfield capable of landing A320 aircraft.
According to Mineral Resources, MARBL will initially focus on restarting one of Wodgina’s three 250,000tpa processing lines, and when market demand is sufficient additional processing lines may be recommenced. Additionally, the start-up and initial operating phase at Wodgina is expected to create 200 new full-time jobs.
Mineral Resources and Albemarle formed MARBL for the exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium and other minerals from the Wodgina Project. Under the terms of the MARBL joint venture, Mineral Resources' will provide crushing and camp services at Wodgina and Albemarle will market 100 per cent of the output.
“It was the correct decision in late 2019 to place Wodgina on care and maintenance though it never dented our confidence in lithium’s long-term positive demand fundamentals. As we said at the time and repeat today, in Albemarle we have the best partner to deliver maximum and sustainable value from world-class assets like Wodgina."
“Lithium is one of MRL’s two core commodities, alongside iron ore, and we have worked very hard over the past five years to establish long life operations for both. Wodgina, along with our 50 per cent-owned Mt Marion Lithium Project in WA’s Goldfields and the soon-to-be-completed 40 per cent-owned Kemerton Hydroxide Facility, give MRL a world-class portfolio of highest-quality, long-life lithium assets in a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction."
Shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN)
are trading 10 per cent higher at $43.33.
Image from: https://www.mineralresources.com.au/our-business/commodities/lithium/wodgina-lithium-project-upgrade/