LA Private

MinRes misses export targets

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) has fallen short of its lithium export targets from the Wodgina mine in Western Australia, which it operates in partnership with Albemarle, a New York-based company.

The mining company revealed the missed shipments of spodumene concentrate from the Wodgina mine on Wednesday, just days after MinRes backed out of a billion-dollar deal to acquire a stake in downstream assets in China, owned by Albemarle.

Shipments of spodumene concentrate from Wodgina dropped to 34,000 tonnes in the June quarter, a decline of 26% compared to the previous three months. The total annual shipments amounted to 143,000 tonnes, falling short of MinRes’ target range of 150,000-170,000 tonnes.

On June 16, MinRes had already signaled its expectation of shipments being at the lower end of the target range. The company also downgraded its guidance for the Mt Marion lithium mine, which it operates and owns in partnership with China’s Gangfeng.

Mt Marion’s shipments declined by 2% quarter-on-quarter, amounting to 39,000 tonnes in the June quarter, bringing the total for the year to 149,000 tonnes. This result fell within the downgraded guidance of 145,000-150,000 tonnes.

MinRes reported that the average quarterly price for Mt Marion spodumene, factoring in grade adjustments and product discounts, stood at $2,589 ($3,814) per tonne, representing a 23% decrease from the previous March quarter.

The cooperation agreement between MinRes and Ganfeng, aimed at converting Mt Marion spodumene concentrate into lithium battery chemicals, was mutually terminated effective from June 1. As a result, there will be no payments to Ganfeng for sales of lithium battery chemicals in calendar year 2023.

In its mining services division, MinRes produced 58 million tonnes in the June quarter and a total of 248 million tonnes throughout 2022-23. This result aligned with the revised guidance of 245 million-255 million tonnes issued in April, as contracts started to dry up and new projects were still awaiting approval.

Last week, MinRes made the decision to abandon its downstream deal with Albemarle but retained marketing rights over 50% of the spodumene produced at Wodgina. This strategic move allows the company to explore partnerships with other players in the battery minerals sector, particularly in South-East Asia.