Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia Pty Ltd (TLEA), the 2021 lithium joint venture entity owned by Tianqi Lithium Corporation (TLC) (51%) and IGO (49%), has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of Essential Metals Limited for A$0.50/share, payable in cash. The transaction represents a 36.3% premium to ESS’s 30-day VWAP and values ESS’s equity at A$136 million on a fully diluted basis.
ESS is a lithium exploration company which owns 100% of the Pioneer Dome Project in Western Australia. Pioneer Dome is located approximately 130 km south of Kalgoorlie and 200 km north of the port of Esperance. The project covers an area of 450 km2 and is in close proximity to the Mount Marion and Bald Hill lithium projects.
Pioneer Dome is one of 14 JORC-compliant spodumene lithium resources in Australia, with a defined JORC resource of 11.2 Mt @ 1.16% Li2O containing 129,000 lithium tonnes. The three Dome deposits that support the Mineral Resource Estimate are Cade, Davy and Heller.
Lithium exploration drilling, local geology and structural interpretation of the Dome North Project area – Cade, Davy and Heller.
ESS also holds several other interests in early-stage exploration projects across lithium, nickel and gold.
ESS’s Board of Directors unanimously recommended that ESS shareholders vote in favor , and each ESS Director intends to vote their ESS shares in favor. The proposed transaction is subject to various conditions including ESS shareholder and court approvals.
TLEA said the acquisition offers significant benefits, including:
It is aligned with TLEA’s strategy focused on building a globally significant lithium business;
Continues to diversity and expand TLEA’s lithium portfolio within Western Australia;
Secures additional lithium resources with the potential for continued growth through future exploration; and
Offers entry into a highly prospective lithium province.
IGO will manage the exploration and initial project studies on behalf of TLEA. TLEA expects the Transaction to complete by May 2023.
TLEA owns an integrated lithium business, including a 51% interest in the Greenbushes Lithium Operation (Albemarle Corp, 49%), and 100% of the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery, both located in Western Australia.
Greenbushes Lithium Mine - Chemical Grade Plant 2 (CGP2)
Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery
TLC is a global energy materials company listed on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges currently capitalized at ~US$19 billion, and IGO is a mining and processing company which produces metals critical for clean energy and is currently capitalized at ~A$10.5 billion.