Albemarle's global layout
Albemarle is the world's largest battery metal manufacturer with the largest reserves, highest grade, most competitive cost, and globally distributed salt lake lithium resources and ore lithium resources. It also has mature production bases in North America, South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
In terms of Australian layout, in addition to acquiring Liontown, in February this year, Australian lithium giant Mineral Resources (MinRes) announced that it would invest nearly A $1 billion to acquire 50% of Albemarle's shares in two lithium hydroxide factories in Qinzhou and Meishan, China, and adjust its joint venture framework with Albemarle in Australia. In July, Albemarle announced a new agreement with MinRes. According to the revised agreement, Albemarle is expected to acquire full ownership of the Kemerton mine in Australia and 50% ownership of the Wodgina mine, while retaining full ownership of the Qinzhou and Meishan factories in China. 10% equity transfer of Wodgina in exchange for 25% equity of Kemerton. After the transaction is completed, Albemarle is expected to pay MinRes $380 million to $400 million. After approval by Australian regulatory authorities, the transaction is expected to be completed later in 2023.
Although it is a global leader in lithium mines, Albemarle is still expanding vigorously. On February 22nd of this year, Meishan factory reported new progress, with an annual production of 50000 tons of lithium hydroxide battery material project expected to be put into operation by the end of October. In April, Albemarle announced that it would invest $47 million in lithium exploration activities in the province of Catamarca, Argentina this year. If the drilling results and macroeconomic conditions are suitable, the company will invest at least $500 million to bring the project into the production phase. In July, Albemarle also invested CAD 109 million to acquire approximately 5% of the Canadian based lithium developer Patriot Battery Metals. In addition, in May this year, Albemarle reached a strategic agreement with Ford Motor Company to supply it with over 100000 tons of battery grade lithium hydroxide between 2026 and 2030. Tesla is also one of Albemarle's long order customers.