SINGAPORE (Nov 3): As electric vehicles are gaining popularity in the market, prices of cobalt and lithium, rare-metal commodities used to make rechargeable batteries, have been driven up.

Alliance Mineral Assets (AMA) is one local mining company that could benefit from this boom.

The bad news is that a still-unresolved dispute resulted in big changes in its ownership structure over the last few months, which created doubt over the major shareholder’s grip over the company.

The good news is that the company has succeeded in securing financing and improved offtake terms for the delivery of its first batch of lithium oxide next year. And, the current uncertainty could actually be an opportunity for investors.

AMA launched its IPO at 23 cents per share in July 2014.

Its share price hit a low of 5.2 cents as it was originally mining tantalum, which prices slumped back then.

The group then switched to mining lithium, which helped its share price recover.

But things began to go wrong. On June 17, AMA said Living Waters Mining (Australia) had disposed of nearly 46.1 million shares, at 32 cents each, via an “off-market transaction”.

LWMA is an investment vehicle of Tjandra Pramoko and his wife, Simone Suen Sze Man. Pramoko is CEO of AMA, while Suen is an executive director of the company. The 46.1 million shares were equivalent to a 9.6% stake in AMA.

On June 21, AMA said Jonathan Lim Keng Hock had acquired 46.1 million shares in the company. This created the impression that Pramoko and Suen had sold a stake in AMA to Lim. It later became apparent that the change in ownership of those shares was not an off-market transaction.

Instead, the shares had been transferred as part of a settlement of a long-standing dispute between Pramoko and Lim. In 2009, Lim had provided A$7 million to Pramoko to start the mining business. After AMA was listed, Lim sought to obtain a stake in the company from Pramoko, and eventually took him to court.

Has Pramoko completely settled his troubles with Lim? Or is it only a matter of time before more trouble erupts?

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