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June 21, 2024
PI Global Investments

Mark Creasy, lithium kingmaker, strikes rivers of investment gold

Mr Creasy, with 12.8 per cent of the company’s stock, has committed to selling into the Rinehart-SQM bid for Azure pitched at $3.70 a share in December.

Mr Creasy owns 40 per cent of Azure’s flagship Andover project in his own right.

The Azure board, which includes Mr Creasy’s wife Annie Guo, has backed the Rinehart-SQM bid. Another WA mining billionaire, Chris Ellison, is yet to declare his hand.

Mr Ellison’s Mineral Resources can opt to sell into the Rinehart-SQM takeover or resist – giving up what is currently a 13.5 per cent stake.

In commentary attached to the newly filed Yandal accounts, Mr Creasy attributed the company’s higher profits to lower spending on exploration – the activity behind his business success and notably discoveries in gold, nickel and now lithium.

Mr Creasy arrived in Australia in 1964 after graduating from the British Royal School of Mines and started work at a Queensland coal mine. He struck it rich with the sale of two gold deposits to Joseph Gutnick’s Great Central Mines for $130 million in 1994.

He is the prospector behind discoveries that led to the Jundee gold mine, now owned by Northern Star, and the Nova nickel mine owned by IGO Ltd.

Yandal classified ASX-listed CRZ as a subsidiary for accounting purposes even though its shareholding had been diluted to 44 per cent. Yandal said its related parties held a further 8.76 per cent.

CRZ’s Robe Mesa iron ore project sits next door to Rio Tinto’s Mesa F deposit in the Pilbara and is slated to produce 5 million tonnes a year of the steel-making ingredient.

A recent feasibility study suggested it would cost $109 million to bring Robe Mesa into production.

Rio was once touted as a potential buyer but is now heavily focused on higher grade iron ore deposits.

The deal involving CRZ, where Ms Guo also sits on the board, is set to be revealed within days, and comes amid renewed interest in stranded or smaller-scale iron ore projects driven by high prices.

The Yandal accounts show its stake in troubled nickel and lithium producer IGO has been pledged to secure borrowings held by Mr Creasy’s broader investment group.

Mr Creasy has turned to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in a $2.9 million dispute with the Australian Taxation Office over the group’s accounts dating back to 2013.

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