Mineral Resources shares dip as company aims to 'maximise potential' of its lithium portfolio

The ASX 200 mining giant wants to grow its three lithium operations while also buying up junior lithium explorers.

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Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN) shares closed the session at $62.60 per share, down 0.32% amid the company hosting its annual general meeting (AGM) today.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) closed lower as well, down 0.67%.

MinRes seeks to 'maximise potential of lithium portfolio'

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison described the past 12 months as "the most productive in MinRes' history".

The company is a global top-five producer of iron ore and a top-five supplier of lithium.

Maximising the potential of its lithium portfolio was among the company's stated operational goals in a presentation delivered at the AGM today.

And as we've seen lately, organic growth of MinRes' three existing lithium assets is not the only pathway forward for the lithium portfolio, with Ellison in acquisition mode.

Mineral Resources buys up junior lithium explorers

Ellison has bought up stakes in a bunch of junior lithium explorers in recent weeks, the most notable of which is a 17.44% stake in Delta Lithium Ltd (ASX: DLI).

This makes Mineral Resources Delta's biggest shareholder, with Ellison now on the board as non-executive chair. The CEO of the MinRes lithium division, Joshua Thurlow, also joined the board.

The company is underwriting Delta's $70 million capital raising, and Ellison has disclosed he will be taking up the full entitlements.

Mineral Resources has also amassed a 13.5% stake in takeover target Azure Minerals Ltd (ASX: AZS). The junior miner has accepted a $3.52 per share takeover from Sociedad Quimica y Minr de Chile SA.

Also last month, Ellison bought nearly a fifth of Wildcat Resources Ltd (ASX: WC8).

Expansion plans at existing lithium mines

Currently, Mineral Resources is focused on upstream operations but is studying downstream options in Australia and globally.

The company laid out some of its plans at the AGM today to grow its operations at Mount Marion, Wodgina and Bald Hill.

Let's take a look.

Wodgina in the Pilbara, WA

Mineral Resources recently restructured its joint venture deal with Albemarle Corporation and raised its stake in Wodgina from 40% to 50%. The resource estimate is 217 MT, and the current capacity is 250 ktpa for each of the two trains in operation. Mineral Resources says ramping up train 3 is a priority for the first half of 2024, while a study for a fourth train is underway.

Mt Marion in the Goldfields, WA

Mineral Resources owns Mt Marion 50:50 with Ganfeng Lithium Group Co Ltd. The resource estimate is 65 Mt, but 80% of the site remains unexplored. The company hopes to increase the mine's capacity to 600 ktpa in the long term.

Bald Hill in the Goldfields, WA

The company owns this one entirely. The resource estimate is 26 Mt, and the current capacity is about 150 ktpa. The company says there is significant near-mine exploration potential at Bald Hill.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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