Eastern Iron has signed a partnership agreement with Ya Hua International Investment and Development (Yahua) to acquire and develop lithium projects in Australia and other countries.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group, Yahua is a substantial shareholder of Eastern Iron.

The two firms will cooperate on the potential acquisition and development of spodumene projects in countries excluding China and in Africa.

As part of the new agreement, Eastern Iron and Ya Hua will establish a long-term partnership for the spodumene concentrates supply.

The deal provides Yahua with the first right of refusal on spodumene products offtake from any of the JV projects.

Eastern Iron will also have an option for signing a long-term offtake agreement with Yahua for spodumene products produced from Eastern Iron’s other projects.

Eastern Iron chairman Eddie King said: “Following Yahua’s substantial investment in EFE, the strategic partnership agreement with Yahua is a transformational agreement for the company and should be an exciting phase for all stakeholders involved with Eastern Iron.

“The strategic partnership agreement provides the company with an advantage to acquire and develop lithium projects as we seek to strengthen our position in providing green energy solutions for future generations.”

The two firms have also decided to work together on the development of the Trigg Hill Lithium Tantalum project in East Pilbara, Western Australia, amid the growing demand for lithium products.

Eastern Iron agreed to acquire a 100% stake in the Trigg Hill project earlier this year. The old tantalum and tin mine operated during the 1960s and early 1980s.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the two companies plan to form a joint venture for the exploration and development of the Trigg Hill project.

The latest deal follows the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Eastern Iron and Ya Hua in September 2021.