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Energy Storage

Australian lithium miners Orocobre and Galaxy to combine

by Alex Scott
April 24, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 15


An aerial view of evaporation ponds at a lithium chemical facility.
Credit: Orocobre
A view of Orocobre evaporation ponds in Argentina

The Australian lithium chemical firm Orocobre has agreed to acquire Galaxy Resources, its smaller domestic peer, for $1.4 billion. The combined company will have a market capitalization of $3 billion, making it the world’s fifth-most-valuable producer of lithium materials for electric car batteries, behind Ganfeng, Albemarle, SQM, and Tianqi. The new firm will have operations in Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Japan. The combined firm’s lithium chemical capacity will be about 40,000 metric tons (t) per year, but it already has plans to increase this to 130,000 t per year. Its technologies include producing lithium from brine and spodumene rock, as well as chemical processing to generate battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. The lithium market is improving as a result of growing demand from the electric vehicle sector. Spot prices for lithium carbonate increased 90% between December 2020 and the end of March, the companies state.


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