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Galaxy Seeks Acquisitions to Boost Lithium Production

Galaxy Resources Ltd., aiming to become the world’s fourth-biggest producer of lithium-carbonate used in mobile phones, is looking to purchase advanced projects as demand gains for alternate, cleaner energy sources.

“We are looking at different opportunities around the world to increase our lithium footprint,” Iggy Tan, managing director of the Perth-based minerals explorer, said in an interview. “If it was a resource project it would be quite well developed. We’re not interested in early exploration.”

Galaxy is spending a A$145 million ($147 million) to build a mine in Australia and a plant in China to take advantage of rising demand for lithium carbonate, also used in batteries, computers, ceramics and pharmaceuticals. President Barack Obama’s bid to push car-makers into building more fuel-efficient cars and China’s aim to have 10 percent of its autos emission-free by 2013 are helping producers, Tan said.

“Demand for lithium has picked up dramatically and global production is close to pre-global financial crisis levels,” Tan said in the Nov. 5 interview in Perth. “Prices haven’t moved yet but within 18 months they’ll be back to pre-GFC levels.”

Galaxy’s shares, which more than tripled last year, rose 0.6 percent to A$1.635 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading on the Australian stock exchange in Sydney. Galaxy intends to have its shares traded in Hong Kong from early 2011, Tan said.

The company raised A$91.5 million selling convertible bonds and equity to investors, including Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Fengli Group (Hong Kong) Ltd., it said today in a statement.

“Hong Kong has got liquidity in the market, a very diversified investor base and a much better appreciation of the lithium story,” Tan said.

Galaxy, 19.9 percent owned by China’s Creat Resources Holdings Ltd., will begin shipments of concentrate from its mine at Mt. Cattlin in Western Australia by the end of the year, Tan said. Its lithium carbonate processing plant in the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone in Jiangsu province, which was to have begun operations in November, is now scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2011, he said.

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