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Pilbara Minerals open to ‘great’ acquisition opportunities

Strategic Outlook
  • Pilbara Minerals expresses openness to "great" acquisition opportunities, signaling a strategic stance aimed at expanding its portfolio, enhancing market position, and capitalizing on emerging trends in the minerals sector.

Pilbara Minerals, Australia’s biggest independent lithium producer, said on Wednesday it is looking at acquisitions to grow but putting money back into existing assets would come first.

“We are considering and looking at inorganic growth opportunities but we’re in no rush and we won’t grow for growth’s sake but if there’s a great opportunity … we’re up for that,” CEO Dale Henderson said during the Macquarie Australia Conference.

Pilbara Minerals hired an M&A banker as its chief development officer around a year ago, saying at the time it was in the very early stages of considering acquisitions for growth.

Since then, lithium prices have bottomed, while BHP’s $39 billion offer for Anglo American has underscored keen interest on the part of miners in boosting exposure to metals critical to the energy transition.

That said, Australia’s mining barons Gina Rinehart and Chris Ellison have snapped up blocking stakes in many of the country’s promising lithium developers, making the domestic landscape for consolidation more complex.

For now, Pilbara Minerals is undertaking expansion projects such as building out a demonstration plant at its Pilgangoora project in Western Australia to make a midstream lithium phosphate product for sale to battery chemicals makers.

It is also working on several other projects including new ore crushing and chemicals production options to supply electric vehicle battery makers.

Globally, lithium is an attractive asset. Leo Lithium on Wednesday agreed to sell a 40% stake in a mine in Mali for $342.7 million to China’s Ganfeng Lithium.

(By Lewis Jackson and Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue and Edwina Gibbs)


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