Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies have formed a joint venture to own and operate the Wodgina project to produce spodumene concentrate and battery grade lithium hydroxide.

The joint venture will be managed through a special purpose company to be owned by the two firms with equal stake.

Following the completion of the transaction, Albemarle will acquire a 50% stake in all mineral rights within the Wodgina tenements, other than iron-ore, which will be retained by Mineral Resources and tantalum, which is held by a Global Advanced Metals Greenbushes.

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said: “I am extremely pleased we have been able to complete definitive documentation with Albemarle on the sale of a 50% interest in Wodgina and the formation of a 50:50 joint venture.

“It is very apparent to me that there is an extremely good fit between the corporate cultures and skillsets of our respective businesses.”

Completion of the stake sale and formation of the Wodgina JV is subject to regulatory approvals, including Foreign Investments Review Board (FIRB) and Chinese anti-trust approvals.

Upon completion and ramp-up of the spodumene concentration plant, the Wodgina Project is expected to produce nearly 100 ktpa lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

The two companies will jointly fund, design, build and operate a battery grade lithium hydroxide plant to be constructed at Wodgina in two stages of up to 50 ktpa LCE each.

Following the formation of the joint venture, Albemarle will manage the marketing and sales of spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide produced by the Wodgina JV.

Ellison said: “Our proven local Western Australian capability is extremely well complemented by Albemarle’s proven technical downstream processing expertise and their international marketing capabilities in lithium.

“Our organisations share the same vision to develop Wodgina, a tier one asset, as a world class, 30-plus year integrated lithium operation together.”