‘World’s largest’ lithium mine to expand

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…Greenbushes bolstered by increased investment

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*Photo:The Greenbushes lithium mine in Western Australia.

An upsizing of the Greenbushes lithium mine’s revolving syndicated loan facility (SLF) has been approved by Windfield Holdings.

Greenbushes is known as the world’s largest hard-rock lithium mine and is located approximately 250km south of Perth in Western Australia. It recorded a profit of about $6.3 billion in 2023.

IGO and Tianqi Lithium currently share a 49 per cent stake in Greenbushes, with Albemarle owning the remaining balance. Talison Lithium, the operator of the site, is a joint venture between the three parties.

According to IGO, the mine has received strong interest from a group of leading commercial banks.

As a result, the Greenbushes SLF has increased from $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) to $US1.55 billion ($2.33 billion) with a five-year term.

The SLF upsizing will fund Greenbushes’ capital commitments, specifically the construction of a third chemical grade plant 3 and a fourth tailings storage facility.

“Given Greenbushes’ enviable position on the lithium cost curve and the significant capital investment program underway to expand production and improve productivity, IGO is supportive of Talison’s capital management initiatives and the increase to the debt facilities available to the team,” IGO managing director and chief executive officer Ivan Vella said.

“The strong appetite from leading commercial banks to support this exciting phase of Greenbushes’ transformation is indicative of the quality of the project and the strong and sustainable cash flows it will generate through the cycle.”

During the March 2024 quarter, Greenbushes saw decreased production and sales due to the management of production and inventory levels in response to the lower offtake requirements by shareholders.

Despite the lower spodumene sales and prices, IGO said Greenbushes is expected to operate at full production for the rest of 2024.

*Credit:Australian Mining

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