Battery Metals

Eastern Resources joins Chinese lithium giant to target lepidolite

Fri 10 Jun 22, 12:04pm (AEST)
China 6 Geopolitical Politics Tension
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Key Points

  • Eastern Resources has bucked the trend of domestic critical mineral supply chain security by partnering with Chinese company
  • Yongxing Special Materials has been building out its lithium production capacity potential since early 2021 and is listed on the Shenzhen exchange
  • Yongxing and Eastern have incorporated a domestic entity, EFE Yongxing, to search for lithium with a focus on lepidolite mineralisation

A partnership consisting of Eastern Resources (ASX:EFE) and Chinese lithium player Yongxing Special Materials Technology has incorporated an Australian subsidiary entity, EFE Yongxing, to acquire and develop lepidolite lithium projects in Australia. 

Early 2021 Yongxing Materials began constructing a battery-grade lithium carbonate project capable of producing 20,000tpa which goes live halfway through this year. Total capacity now stands at 30,000tpa.

Now, Yongxing is looking toward Australia, and Eastern Resources clearly perceives the partnership of strategic value.

Yongxing is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange with a market cap of some $11.2bn.

Pictured: Yongxing's Chinese headquarters
Pictured: Yongxing's Chinese headquarters

What projects does Eastern manage? 

Eastern Resources has three projects in Australia covering diverse mineral exploration: the Trigg Hill and Taylor Lookout projects are located in Northern WA, while the Nowa Nowa Project in Victoria’s southeast brings the company’s total project count to three. 

Eastern Resources says it can use the JV to “increase focus” on lepidolite projects, while also maintaining focus on projects with spodumene potential. 

What is lepidolite? 

Lepidolite is a common mineral which hosts lithium, but is often overlooked in favour of spodumene. Lepidolite refining practices to yield lithium metals are less developed than that for spodumene, and fewer companies focus on lepidolite exploration.

However, a number of companies on the ASX boast lepidolite deposits, including De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG), Lepidico (ASX:LPD), Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) and Metals Australia (ASX:MLS).

Eastern starts with existing projects 

Eastern Resources will explore for lepidolite at its Trigg Hill and Taylor Lookout projects in the coming weeks.

Meantime, Eastern Resources, and now the EFE Yongxing partnership, await assay results from an initial Trigg Hill exploration program with delivery anticipated by the end of June. 

While Eastern Resources owns 100% of Trigg Hill, it only has a right to acquire up to 85% of Lithium Rights at Taylor Hill.

Eastern Resources' three month charts. The question is: can the company make lithium before the battery metals market dies down?
Eastern Resources' three month charts.

 

Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication. Email Jon at [email protected].

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