June 6, 2018 / 2:08 AM / 15 days ago

Alliance Mineral Assets doubles its West Australian lithium reserves

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Alliance Minerals Assets Ltd, which began exporting lithium concentrate from the Bald Hill project in Western Australia in May, said on Wednesday it has doubled its estimate of lithium ore reserves.

Singapore-listed Alliance began lithium and tantalum concentrate production in mid-March as part of a joint venture with Tawana Resources, which it bought out for A$215 million ($165.4 million) in April, in a deal that is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter.

Bald Hill produces spodumene, a type of lithium concentrate that is in hot demand to be processed into lithium carbonate or hydroxide for use in rechargeable batteries that power mobile phones and electric cars.

The joint venture put lithium resources at 11.3 million tonnes at 1.0 percent of lithium oxide, up 105 percent from its July 2017 estimate, it said in a filing to the Australian stock exchange.

The partners are reviewing options for significant expansion in processing capacity and concentrate production, the statement said.

“There is strong demand for our product. We had a fairly low capital spend on the first plant, so we are looking at either increasing throughput for that or building another one,” Tawana Resources Managing Director Mark Calderwood told Reuters.

“We aim to continue to grow resources and reserves ... We’ll probably have another resource upgrade later in the year.”

Shares in Alliance rose more than 4 percent on Wednesday in a slightly firmer broader market.

Two shipments were completed in May and the next shipment is anticipated in late June or early July, it said.

Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin

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