Mineral Resources share price tumbles as lithium business takes off

Miner looking at a tablet.Miner looking at a tablet.

The share price of multifaceted materials giant Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN) is in the red this morning following the release of its latest quarterly report.

Additionally, the company’s takeover target, Norwest Energy NL (ASX: NWE) announced it will accept the material giant’s all-scrip bid after the market closed yesterday.  

The Mineral Resources share price is $93.225 at the time of writing. That’s 3.17% lower than its previous close.

Mineral Resources share price falls despite lithium wins

Here are the key takeaways from the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) company’s December quarter compared to the prior quarter:

  • Iron ore shipments fell 9% to 4.1 million wet metric tonnes (wmt)
  • Average realised iron ore price rose 33% to US$97 per dry metric tonne (dmt)
  • Spodumene concentrate shipments rose 18% to 97,000 dmt
  • 7,418 tonnes of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate was converted last quarter
  • 6,612 tonnes of which was sold – marking a 75% improvement
  • Average realised lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate revenue was US$65,996 a tonne, exclusive of China VAT

Production at the company’s Mt Marion lithium project lifted 12% last quarter. The project also shipped 59,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate – up 5% quarter-on-quarter for an average realised price of US$4,151 per dmt.

Meanwhile, the Wodgina lithium project shipped 38,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate – up 45% – with 9,000 dmt sold at US$5,131 per tonne.

What else happened last quarter?

The December quarter was a busy one for Mineral Resources and its share price. The stock jumped 17.4% over the three-month period.

However, it’s being weighed down today amid news of Mt Marion’s expansion. The expansion – set to increase the project’s production capacity to 900 kilotons annually – has been delayed by the slower-than-expected arrival of processing equipment and labour shortages. The upgrade is now tipped to kick off in April and reach full run-rate from July.

Meanwhile, the company extended the terms of the Mt Marion Tolling Agreement with Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium to the end of 2023.

Finally, the ASX 200 giant posted a takeover bid for Norwest Energy in December, offering one share for every 1,367 shares in the smaller energy stock.

After initially rejecting the offer, Norwest announced it will accept a new bid after the market closed yesterday. The approved offer will see shareholders receiving one MinRes share for 1,300 Norwest stocks. That values Norwest shares at 7.41 cents apiece and the takeover target at $497 million.

What’s next?

Despite posting lower iron ore production, the company says it is on track to meet its financial year 2023 production and shipments guidance of between 17.2 million wmt and 18.8 million wmt.

However, delays at Mt Marion have forced the company to drop its shipped guidance for the project to between 250,000 dmt and 280,000 dmt. Of that, 40% is expected to be high grade. Mt Marion’s FOB cost guidance has also increased to between $540 a tonne and $590 a tonne.

Finally, Wodgina remains on track to achieve its shipped guidance of 190,000 dmt to 210,000 dmt.

Mineral Resources share price outperforms ASX 200

The Mineral Resources share price has gained a notable 24% so far this year. Meanwhile, the ASX 200 is up 8%.

The stock has also risen 63% over the last 12 months, beating the index’s 8% gain in that time.

The post Mineral Resources share price tumbles as lithium business takes off appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper 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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