China's Tianqi Lithium settles dispute with Australian contractor

Perth-based MSP was appointed lead contractor on the Kwinana project

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Workers watch as a battery exchange robot changes the batteries in an electric car at China's largest electric vehicle battery recharging station in Beijing

Image used for illustrative purpose. Workers watch as a battery exchange robot changes the batteries in an electric car at China's largest electric vehicle battery recharging station in Beijing

REUTERS/David Gray

China's Tianqi Lithium Corp on Monday said its subsidiary had signed an agreement with contractor MSP Engineering to end a long-running row over the delayed Kwinana plant in Western Australia.

Perth-based MSP was appointed lead contractor on the Kwinana project, which was billed as the world's largest plant to make lithium hydroxide for electric vehicle batteries. Commissioning was postponed in early 2020 as Tianqi ran into liquidity problems and MSP sought to recover missed payments.

Tianqi Lithium Kwinana (TLK) earlier this year paid A$38.9 million ($28.74 million) of arrears into an Australian court fund and had made a counterclaim seeking more than A$225 million in damages from MSP. The next hearing in the case was due on Nov. 10.

However, Tianqi said a filing on Monday that a "complete and final settlement" had been signed, which will see A$21.57 million plus associated interest from the court fund returned to TLK, A$12.37 million paid to MSP and the remainder jointly managed by both parties for the project.

MSP did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.

Kwinana, which now counts IGO Ltd as a 49% shareholder, produced its first batch of lithium hydroxide in August.

($1 = 1.3537 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Bernadette Baum) ((tom.daly@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 5669 2119;))


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