Wesfarmers has postponed its final investment decision on the Mt Holland lithium project in Western Australia until the first quarter of 2021.
The company and its joint venture partner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) have agreed to undertake additional work after completing a definitive feasibility study at Mt Holland.
This includes optimising project design to reduce capital and operating costs, improving utility and infrastructure solutions for the project and investigating initiatives to further leverage Wesfarmers Chemicals Energy & Fertilisers’ existing capabilities.
Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott expects the actions will benefit the Mt Holland lithium project and support a financial investment decision in 2021.
“Once completed, the project is expected to play an important role in the global lithium hydroxide market with a long-term outlook that remains attractive,” Scott said.
SQM chief executive Ricardo Ramos agreed that its partnership with Wesfarmers supported a world-class lithium project in Western Australia.
“Our work to date confirms that Mt Holland is a high-quality project which will play an important role in the global lithium market,” Ramos said.
“We are pleased with the work that has been done with Wesfarmers since they joined the project and believe it will continue to benefit from their significant local infrastructure, experience and capability in chemical processing.”
The Mt Holland project came under Wesfarmers’ partial ownership when it acquired Kidman Resources in a $776 million deal in September last year.
This has given Wesfarmers a 50 per cent interest in Mt Holland, which comprises a mine, concentrator and refinery.