The world has to work with China: Pilbara chief

Pilbara Minerals CEO Dale Henderson says the lithium and tantalite miner is diversifying some of its downstream processing away from China but maintained the company’s relationship with China is in “great health” and plans to continue to work in the country (reports The Australian Financial Review).

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Asked at The Australian Financial Review Mining Summit in Perth what he thought about Resources Minister Madeline King urging miners to do business with “like-minded” customers, he said the minister acknowledged the size of Pilbara’s trade with China.

The Albanese government will soon release a critical minerals strategy to address national interest concerns over China’s dominance of supply chains for minerals like rare earths.

“We’re fairly dependent with China and the minister sort of acknowledged this point. For our business, 98 per cent of the product flows to China. So we have a very much a co-dependent relationship. And that relationship, business-to-businesses, is in great health and we’re looking to continue to work with China,” Henderson says.

“And the world has to work with China for many years to come, particularly given that essentially the whole battery materials industry is centred with China.”

But as the $14.26 billion company “effectively doubles” in the next 18-24 months, he says the miner will diversify its downstream processing because it “just makes good business” sense.

“Our first foray in that regard relates to joint venture with POSCO for the development of a hydroxide plant in South Korea. That’s the first step to diversify our base and a really sensible one,” he says.

“And I think the POSCO-Pilbara Minerals joint venture is an example of the types of new businesses which are emerging and the opportunities which are out there.”

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