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Australian lithium miner Altura enters receivership

Sydney — Australian lithium miner Altura entered into receivership Oct. 27 amid difficult market conditions for the sector, leaving confusion over the future of production at its flagship mine.

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KordaMentha has been appointed as receivers and managers of the embattled miner. The firm will take control of Altura's assets, including its namesake Altura mine in Western Australia's Pilgangoora, according to a notice to the Australian Securities Exchange.

A spokesman for Altura said the company is not in a position to comment.

As recently as Sept. 24, Altura said its operations were steady and expected to produce 43,000-45,000 wet mt in the July-September period -- consistent with previous quarters.

"Altura's production and sales have continued to be strong through what are still weak market conditions," Altura's managing director James Brown said at the time.

"Our ability to continue to operate at full capacity through this challenging time differentiates Altura from our peers," he said.

Altura's securities were suspended from the ASX Aug. 12.

The company had requested Sept. 24 that the suspension remain in place. "We are ... pleased with the support being shown by our lenders while we work through the process of restructuring our balance sheet to achieve reduced financing costs," Brown said at the time.

Altura did not provide production guidance throughout the year, citing the global impact of COVID-19.

The Altura Lithium Project began commercial production in March 2019. Stage 1 has a nameplate capacity of 220,000 mt/year. It has a life of mine forecast at 26 years at current rates and exports via Port Hedland.