MELBOURNE – (Reuters) – A partner in one of the world’s largest lithium mines said on Monday trial dates have been set to determine whether expansion at the Western Australian mine, in which China’s Tianqi Lithium holds a stake, would unfairly impact its minerals rights.
Private-equity backed Global Advanced Metals (GAM) owns the rights to tantalum and other minerals produced at Greenbushes, the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine, and has requested the courts to halt mine expansion plans to ensure that its rights are secure.
Talison Lithium, a joint venture between units of lithium giants Tianqi Lithium, and U.S.-based Albemarle Corp, owns only the lithium rights at Greenbushes. Tianqi and Albemarle hold 51 percent and 49 percent of Talison each.
Talison aims to double production at Greenbushes by mid-2019, as its owners race to secure more lithium to feed an expected boom in demand for electric vehicle batteries. However, any court injunction could delay the mine’s expansion.