Hancock lines up lithium deal with India

Brian Thornton signs the deal in India.

Gina Rinehart ’s company has struck a joint venture with two explorers focused on a new lithium development against the backdrop of the billionaire’s recent meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.

Legacy Iron Ore, which is backed by major Indian iron ore producer NMDC Limited, and fellow explorer Hawthorn Resources emerged from a trading halt confirming they had struck a binding joint venture agreement with Hancock Prospecting subsidiary Hancock Magnetite Holdings.

The deal – signed in Hyderabad – centres around the Mt Bevan project, located in Western Australia’s CentralYilgarn region, with the three agreeing to work towards the development of lithium and other critical minerals along the Mt Ida fault.

Hancock will make an initial $4 million investment for a 7.5 per cent stake in Mt Bevan with scope for a further$22 million to take a majority interest in the project.

That investment would be made over three stages based on exploration activities undertaken at the site over the next three and a half years, including delivering a pre-feasibility study for the project.

Legacy has the right to acquire up to 75 percent of the end product from Mt Bevan. Hawthorn will have rights to 10 per cent and Hancock with 15 per cent.

Once those requirements have been met, Hancock will hold a 51 per cent stake in the project with Legacy and hawthorn to hold 29.4 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively.

The deal comes within weeks of Hancock chairman Gina Rinehart’s meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose discussions included ‘increasing cooperation’ on mining and critical minerals.

Mrs Rinehart described India as an important friend and ally.

“On his recent visit to Australia, I was delighted to again meet with Prime Minister Modi.

“Prime Minister Modi has plans to significantly grow the Indian economy, and to do so they will need increased and reliable exports of minerals and energy.”

“We look forward to continuing work with Legacy Iron and Hawthorn.”

Hancock CEO Group Projects Sanjiv Manchanda said the agreement expanded commercial relations between the three companies.

“This work will draw on the significant expertise that is now being assembled at HanRoy which has a mandate to lead the study, design, and development of a globally significant pipeline of projects,” he said.

Hancock, Legacy, and Hawthorn struck a similar deal in April 2022 on the same tenement for iron ore.

Shares in both Legacy and Hawthorn have rocketed on the news.

Legacy closed the day up 35.3 per cent to trade at 2.3 cents, with Hawthorn shares up 31.3 per cent at 13 cents.