WALTHAM, Mass. & PERTH, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global Advanced Metals (GAM) is pleased to advise that a trial has been set for 16 October to 31 October 2018 to determine, amongst other things, whether Talison Lithium's expansion of its lithium mining and processing at the Greenbushes mine in Western Australia (WA) should be injuncted to prevent it from intruding on GAM’s tantalum and other mineral rights at the mine.
The trial dates were set by Acting Justice Jennifer Smith in the WA Supreme Court after GAM lodged the injunction action in July 2017 to enforce its rights under a mining agreement between the two companies.
It is GAM’s strongly held view that Talison’s expansion of lithium mining and processing at Greenbushes, without complying with its contractual obligations to GAM, threatens to sterilise and waste tantalum resources at Greenbushes. GAM therefore initiated legal action to ensure that Talison’s expansion is carried out in a way that recognises GAM’s rights to tantalum and other minerals.
The trial has been set for 12 hearing days.
The court’s setting of trial dates follows two recent decisions related to the legal action in the last month that includes:
- Granting GAM’s interlocutory injunction that restrained Talison from pursuing a separate expert determination outside of this action related to GAM’s direct mine plan.
- Dismissing applications from Talison-related companies to set aside the subpoenas lodged by GAM seeking access to certain documents.
GAM Chief Executive Officer Andrew O’Donovan said GAM acknowledges the significant benefit lithium production has for the Western Australian economy and is supportive of its continuing development.
“However, contractually the expansion of Talison’s lithium production cannot be at the expense of GAM’s rights to its tantalum and all other minerals at Greenbushes,” Mr O’Donovan said.
“The nature of the orebody at Greenbushes is such that the proposed expansion of lithium mining and processing in its current form will irreparably sterilise tantalum owned by GAM. The mining agreement between our two companies, which moderates this trade-off between lithium and the other mineral rights, is being ignored by Talison.”
GAM currently processes tantalum extracted as a by-product of lithium production at the Company’s Greenbushes secondary processing facility before shipping to the Company’s downstream facilities in the US and Japan. There, GAM further processes tantalum into products that are vital components in consumer devices such as tablets and smartphones, safety and performance management systems in automobiles, “IoT” devices, aircraft engines, medical devices and many more critical applications.
Mr O’Donovan said GAM is increasing near term tantalum production.
“There is growing market demand for tantalum capacitors and other tantalum derived products and markets. Over a decade ago, Western Australia was the largest single source of tantalum raw material in the world and GAM’s plans involving tantalum production from Greenbushes and other sources will once again place WA at the centre of global tantalum supply, thus introducing much needed supply stability to the industry and its end users. We initiated this litigation to secure GAM’s rights.”
About Global Advanced Metals (GAM)
A leading conflict-free tantalum producer, GAM has exclusive rights to the world’s largest industrial resources of tantalum ore located in Western Australia.
GAM produces conflict-free tantalum powders and metallurgical products at its downstream processing plants in Pennsylvania, USA and Aizu, Japan for a range of critical applications in industries including electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical and chemical processing.
GAM’s processing facilities are certified Conflict-Free through the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). GAM was the first supplier of any metal type to be certified Conflict-Free in 2010.
Approximately 40% of tantalum is used in the manufacture of tantalum capacitors, small battery-like components found in many high volume electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and other consumer devices, as well as in the powertrain or safety management control devices of automobiles. Tantalum capacitors are used where the greatest amount of performance is required from the smallest possible package and / or where long term reliability (often in harsh operating environments) is essential. Other uses for tantalum include semiconductor manufacture (15% of use) and as a super alloy in the manufacture of aircraft and wind turbine engine blades (20%).
Greenbushes is located in the South West region of Western Australia and is a well-known major lithium and tantalum production site. Talison Lithium currently undertakes mining operations for its own lithium and GAM’s tantalum.
Talison Lithium is owned 51% by Chinese company Tianqi Lithium Industries, Inc. (SZSE:002466) with the remaining 49% held by US-based Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB). Talison Lithium holds only the lithium rights at Greenbushes, with all other mineral rights reserved to GAM under an agreement between the two companies. The same agreement sets out circumstances under which Talison Lithium may no longer be the sole operator at the mine. The principal mineral present at Greenbushes besides lithium is tantalum.