The Australian Financial Review made the claim yesterday, citing anonymous sources who said Galaxy managing director Anthony Tse, chairman Martin Rowley and other directors had been in Japan two weeks ago for a signing ceremony.
The report pushed Galaxy shares up by as much as 9% yesterday, making it the leading company in the ASX 200 and prompting a query from the ASX.
Galaxy said the claims made in the article were “not factually correct” and said no agreements had been signed.
“Galaxy is uniquely positioned in the global lithium market and is currently engaged in discussions with a number of parties in the battery supply chain, including Panasonic, as part of its normal business, however these discussions are at this stage informal,” the company said.
“The company is also in confidential discussions with car manufacturers in respect of the long-term supply of lithium, but these discussions are also informal at this stage.”
The speculation comes days after Galaxy’s peer Pilbara Minerals signed a deal with Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor Company – the first direct investment by an automotive company in a lithium miner.
After a trip to Asia last week, UBS noted that not too many battery makers were concerned about obtaining lithium supply at this stage, but the speed of new capacity could change that.
“Several manufacturers of cathode chemicals and batteries mentioned various strategies to invest upstream in mine/processing capacity to secure offtake,” analysts said.
“But our impression was that of the battery makers, these strategic initiatives are still in development.”
Galaxy has been in talks for a while over its Sal de Vida brine project in Argentina, which it will either develop alone or in partnership, and in July, Tse said discussions with potential partners across all stages of the lithium supply chain had entered a more definitive stage.
“Automobile brands have also begun some dialogue with us,” he said at the time.
Outside its producing Mt Cattlin mine in Western Australia, Galaxy is also advancing the James Bay hard rock project in Canada, with a resource upgrade due shortly.
Shares in Galaxy were down by A1c to $2.89, capitalising the company at $1.17 billion.