Lithium rights dispute maintains charge
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.