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SUPPLY: The Greenbushes lithium mine produces 60,000t of LCE a year, about 30 per cent of the world’s annual demand. Photo: Albemarle

Window opens for lithium hopefuls

ANALYSIS: Worldwide demand for lithium is rising and more than 20 companies in WA are on board for the ride.

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Tim, I am surprised that you are unaware that Neometals Mt Marion Mine is under construction, mining has commenced, shipments expected before the end of the year and life-of-mine off take in place with JV partner Ganfeng Lithium (China's second largest lithium producer after Greenbushes Tianqi). Mt Marion will be the world's third largest supplier of lithium to the market based on 2015 global supply numbers. Secondly, spodumene concentrate has a theoretical maximum of 8% Li2O - while 6% is the actual practical standard. That means around 94% of every shipment is actually waste. As supply increases and costs are put under pressure, it will make more sense to downstream to lithium chemicals next to the mine rather than overseas.

Perth
Good points from Simon. Good points. Neometals is also closer to downstream processing than any of its rivals. This is from an article I wrote recently for Prospect, the Department of Mines and Petroleum's internationally distributed magazine: Regarded by industry watchers as one of the world’s most exciting lithium production projects, Neometals’ Mt Marion mine will host the largest hard rock lithium concentrator in the world. Neometals recently sold another 18.1 per cent stake in Mt Marion project to Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium for $US27.15 million, bringing the stake China’s leading lithium producer holds to 43.1 per cent. The purchase is seen by analysts as a strong endorsement of the project being operated by Perth-listed mining and contracting company Mineral Resources, which owns a 30 per cent interest. Announcing the sale in February, Neometals’ Managing Director Chris Reed said that it would help fund Neometals’ longer term plan to construct a downstream plant to upgrade Mt Marion concentrate into higher-value lithium compounds for the lithium battery market. Neometals is developing a patented process to produce high purity battery grade lithium hydroxide. First production at Mt Marion is expected by mid-2016 and the project has been designed to produce more than 280,000tpa of chemical grade spodumene concentrate.

western Australia
Tim, Are you also aware that General Mining and Galaxy resources are in production now with first shipment due out in July..

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