BY: Matt Whittaker, Mining Editor

Zinger Key Points

  • Company plans to build a lithium refinery in Oklahoma to help US diversify from Chinese supply.
  • CEO “cautiously optimistic” about lithium prices rising as Chinese processors have been destocking.

Lithium refining company Stardust Power is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq in June following the completion of a $490 million blank-check deal, CEO Roshan Pujari told Benzinga.

The company is currently building a lithium refinery in Oklahoma.

The SPAC comes at a time when lithium prices are well off their highs from 2022 amid tempered expectations about the electric vehicle industry. Demand for the battery metal is expected to strengthen over the long term as more electric vehicles (EVs) are adopted.

“We remain bullish on EV growth,” Pujari said.

One reason is that states including California are phasing out the sale of new cars with purely internal combustion engines, he said.

New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia and the District of Columbia have followed California’s lead in a full ban of new sales of pure internal combustion engine vehicles in 2035. Europe is also clamping down on those types of automobiles.

Expectations for strong EV demand helped lift lithium prices to record highs in 2022. Since then, major automakers have tempered their expectations for EV production as consumers worry about EV expense, range and charging time. EV sales are still growing, just at a slower rate.

In the meantime, the Biden administration has been looking to bolster supply chains for minerals critical to the energy transition from outside China, which dominates lithium refining.

Pujari said he is “cautiously optimistic” about lithium prices rising as Chinese processors have been destocking.

“Chinese processors working through excess inventory tightens the market,” he said.

The ability to manufacture battery grade lithium outside China is important, Pujari said.

To that end, Stardust Power is developing a lithium refinery in Oklahoma that is expected to be able to produce up to 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium from American brine sources.

To help raise capital for the project, Stardust plans to go public on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SDST via a combination with special purpose acquisition company Global Partner Acquisition Corp II (GPAC), also known as a blank-check company.

Pujari said he expects the deal to close and the new listing be effective in June.

In addition to the refinery, Stardust is developing upstream lithium supply lines to become a more vertically integrated company.

Last week, Vancouver-based Usha Resources Ltd. (USHAF) said it had signed a letter of intent granting Stardust the right to earn up to a 90% interest in Usha’s Jackpot Lake lithium brine project minus a 2% royalty.

In February, Australia-based QX Resources Ltd. said it and Stardust signed a letter of intent to assess brines from QXR’s Liberty lithium brine project in California.

Stardust Power Contacts

For Investors:

William Tates
Stardust Power Inc.


For Media:

Michael Thompson