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(Reuters) -Australia’s Liontown Resources said on Wednesday it signed a five-year agreement with Tesla to supply lithium spodumene concentrate to the electric carmaker, sending the lithium miner’s shares up nearly 20%.
Tesla will buy 100,000 dry metric tonnes (DMT) of the concentrate in the first year starting 2024, increasing to 150,000 DMT per year in subsequent years.
Lithium prices have soared in the past few years, with suppliers scrambling to meet demand as automakers lean towards electric vehicles. The prices are about eight times higher than they were at the start of 2021.
Liontown will supply lithium from its flagship Kathleen Valley Lithium project in Western Australia that is expected to begin commercial production by 2025. The supply to Tesla will account for about a third of the project’s annual production capacity.
Liontown already has a lithium supply deal with the battery unit of South Korea’s LG Chem from the project.
Liontown shares jumped as much as 19.8% to A$1.665, their biggest intraday jump since Sept. 13, 2021.
($1 = 1.3986 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)