Lithium Joint Venture
LITHIUM JOINT VENTURE
LITHIUM JOINT VENTURE WITH TIANQI LITHIUM CORPORATION
In 2021, Tianqi Lithium Corporation (51%) and IGO Limited (49%) incorporated a new Joint Venture (JV), with a focus on developing and operating world class lithium assets. The JV is currently focused on its lithium assets in Western Australia which comprise of a 51% stake in the Greenbushes Lithium Mine (49% owned by Albermarle Corporation) and 100% ownership of the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery.
The JV is global lithium partnership between IGO and Tianqi, a lithium industry leader, and will be the exclusive vehicle for any future lithium related investments outside of China.
GREENBUSHES LITHIUM MINE
IGO/Tianqi JV 51% | Albermarle Corporation 49%
The Greenbushes Lithium Mine is a large-scale, long life, low cost, hard rock lithium mine with spodumene concentrate plants, located approximately 250km south of Perth, Western Australia. Greenbushes has the highest Ore Reserve grade of any hard rock lithium mine globally.
Greenbushes is a well-established operation with mining operations spanning over many years with lithium operations commencing in 1983. The site comprises a large open pit mine, three processing plants – two producing chemical grade lithium concentrates (CGP1 and CGP2), one producing technical grade lithium concentrates (TGP), and associated infrastructure.
In 2019, Greenbushes produced 764kt of lithium concentrate, and completed the construction of CGP2 bringing annual production capacity to approximately 1.2Mtpa of chemical grade spodumene concentrate. Significant expansion options exist to increase annual production capacity beyond 1.2Mtpa of chemical grade spodumene concentrate. Near term expansion projects include two additional chemical grade plants (CGP3 and CGP4), each with production capacity of 520ktpa chemical grade concentrate as well as a Tailings Retreatment Plant with production capacity of 280ktpa of chemical grade concentrate.
These projects (subject to any final JV approvals and market conditions) are planned to be funded from existing Greenbushes debt facilities, combined with Greenbushes cash flows.
Greenbushes Lithium Mine - Chemical Grade Plant 2 (CGP2)
Greenbushes Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORC) Ore Reserve as at 31 March 2018, underpins a mine life in excess of 20 years. In addition to the in-situ orebody at the Central Lode, the Greenbushes Tailings Storage Facility 1 also has a significant lithium endowment (refer to table below):
|JORC Reserves and Resources(1) Including Stockpiles
||Tailings Storage Facility #1
| Ore Reserve (March 2018)
133.1Mt @ 2.1% Li2O
(2.8Mt Contained Li2O)
10.1Mt @ 1.4% Li2O
(0.14Mt contained Li2O)
| Mineral Reserve
178.5Mt @ 2.0% Li2O
(3.6Mt contained Li2O)
18.3Mt @ 1.3% Li2O
(0.23Mt contained Li2O)
KWINANA LITHIUM HYDROXIDE REFINERY
IGO/Tianqi JV 51%
Kwinana is one of the first fully automated battery grade lithium hydroxide facilities globally and the only constructed lithium hydroxide plant in Australia. Kwinana is approximately 35km south of Perth, Western Australia, and only 200km north of Greenbushes, adjacent to major supply chain logistics. The completed plant will comprise two individual production trains with an aggregate nameplate capacity of 48ktpa of premium battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
The first production train (Train I) is fully constructed and currently awaiting commissioning, it is expected to commence production in 2021 and complete ramp up by Q4 2022. The second production train (Train II) is under construction and is expected to commission in 2024.
Kwinana forms part of a vertically integrated lithium value chain with Greenbushes to supply the chemical grade lithium spodumene concentrate feedstock required for the Kwinana Plant. Kwinana will supply lithium hydroxide to customers which include leading global battery cell manufacturers from South Korea and Europe. Kwinana’s customers will benefit from strong ESG credentials and visibility over both the raw material supply chain and the source of intermediate processing for the premium battery grade lithium hydroxide product.
Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery
(1) BDA Independent Technical Report for Greenbushes Lithium Operation, March 2020; Mineral Resources are inclusive of Ore Reserves. The estimate has not been depleted for mining after 31 March 2018; Tianqi advised that from the 31 March 2018 estimate to 30 June 2020 5.2Mt grading 2.71% Li2O has been processed.