Lithium rights dis­pute main­tains charge

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

The row be­tween Pil­bara Min­er­als and Mineral Re­sources over lithium off-take rights looks set con­tinue, as a new dis­pute flares over MinRes’ right to buy prod­uct from the Pil­gan­goora lithium project.

MinRes en­tered the emerg­ing Pil­bara lithium sec­tor in June through the ac­qui­si­tion of Global Ad­vanced Me­tals’ Wodg­ina tan­ta­lum mine.

The ac­qui­si­tion in­cluded a right held by GAM to match any deal for the sale of lithium con­cen­trate pro­duced from Pil­bara Min­er­als’ nearby ground, ac­quired from GAM two years ago.

Le­gal dis­putes flared shortly af­ter Pil­bara Min­er­als told the Chris El­li­son-led com­pany it had struck an off-take deal with China’s Gen­eral Lithium, and gave MinRes 45 days to match its terms or give up its right to buy the prod­uct.

Af­ter a le­gal chal­lenge from MinRes, ar­gu­ing the no­tice was de­fec­tive, Pil­bara Min­er­als with­drew its ini­tial no­tice, reis­su­ing it late last week and re­set­ting the 45-day count­down.

The dis­pute looks to have en­tered its sec­ond round, with MinRes again chal­leng­ing the va­lid­ity of the no­tice last week, ar­gu­ing it “does not pro­vide an offer for MRL to pur­chase lithium prod­ucts on the same terms and con­di­tions” as those of­fered to Gen­eral Lithium.

In a statement, MinRes said the new sale no­tice “pur­ports to fix a price” in­stead of of­fer­ing flex­i­ble pric­ing terms sim­i­lar to those con­tained in the off-take deal with Gen­eral Lithium.

Pil­bara Min­er­als said last week it had com­plied with its obli­ga­tions, and the sales no­tice of­fered ex­actly the same terms and pric­ing mech­a­nisms as agreed with Gen­eral Lithium.

The com­pany said MinRes had been pro­vided with a copy of its off-take agree­ment with the Chi­nese com­pany.

“If the par­ties can­not re­solve this mat­ter sat­is­fac­to­rily, the com­pany in­tends to re­fer the ques­tion of the va­lid­ity of the sale no­tice to dis­pute res­o­lu­tion,” it said.

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