Ganfeng extends purchasing spree with $280 million deal for Millennial Lithium

China’s Ganfeng Lithium announced on Friday it had agreed a deal to buy Argentina-focused Millennial Lithium Corp for around US$280 million (C$353 million).

The successful bid by Ganfeng unit GFL International came in at an 8.4% premium to Vancouver-based Millennial’s closing price last Thursday, the company said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Millennial’s board and largest investor gave unanimous support to the bid, before recommending that shareholders support the offer from one of the biggest lithium producers in the world.

Ganfeng’s latest acquisition in the space follows an agreement to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in Mexico-focused Bacanora Lithium for $264.5 million in May, as well as stakes in a lithium mine in Mali and a salt lake in China for $130 million and $227 million, respectively.

Millennial has two non-producing lithium brine projects – Pastos Grandes and Cauchari East – in close proximity to Ganfeng’s existing operations in Northern Argentina, which includes a joint venture with Lithium Americas Corp.

Millenial’s CEO Farhad Abasov said the deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, provides “a very attractive opportunity for Millennial’s shareholders to realise full liquidity at a substantial premium to the current share price.”

Prices for lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, are up more than 65% year-to-date in China based on resurgent demand following a three-year downturn.