December 14, 2018 / 8:58 AM / a year ago

Mineral Resources and Albemarle agree $1.15 billion lithium deal

FILE PHOTO: Brine pools from a lithium mine, that belongs U.S.-based Albemarle Corp, is seen on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert, Chile, August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

(Reuters) - Australia’s Mineral Resources on Friday signed a binding deal to sell a stake in its Wodgina Lithium Project and form a lithium joint venture with U.S.-based Albemarle Corp for $1.15 billion.

The deal allows Albemarle Corp, the world’s top lithium producer, to expand its presence in Australia at a time when demand for lithium is expected to boom.

Albemarle will take a 50 percent stake in the joint venture that will own and operate the Wodgina mine and develop a plant producing lithium hydroxide.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Darren Schuettler

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