Expert to resolve lithium deal dispute
Pilbara Minerals looks set to avoid a potentially costly and prolonged legal dispute with Mineral Resources over an offtake deal it made with China’s General Lithium.
MinRes argues it was denied a previously held right to match any deal for the sale of lithium concentrate produced from Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora project.
It launched legal action against Pilbara Minerals in the WA Supreme Court, but last Tuesday PLS said it had secured a stay of court proceedings.
“The consequence of these orders is that the dispute between the parties over the validity of PLS’ sale notice will now be heard and resolved before an independent expert in accordance with the contractually agreed terms of the Pilgangoora Asset Sale Agreement,” Pilbara Minerals said in a statement.
PLS said an independent expert had been appointed to resolve the dispute and both parties were in the process of finalising written submissions and providing them to the expert.
“Should the expert determine that the company’s sale notice is valid, as previously advised, MIN will have until October 31 to make an election as to whether it wishes to purchase PLS’ product on no less favourable terms than those offered by General Lithium, or take a 2.5 per cent royalty,” PLS said.
“In either scenario (that is, whether the sale of spodumene concentrate is to General Lithium or MIN), PLS should achieve a no less favourable economic outcome.”
MinRes entered the emerging Pilbara lithium sector in June through the acquisition of Global Advanced Metals’ Wodgina tantalum mine.