Lithium Australia to refocus on battery recycling, cuts jobs amid coronavirus impact

July 20 (Reuters) - Lithium Australia NL LIT.AX said on Monday it would refocus operations on "revenue-generating" battery recycling and sales, cutting costs and jobs as its seeks to weather a slump in raw materials prices exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a stock exchange filing, the Perth-based firm forecast "significant revenue" from its battery businesses in fiscal 2021, without disclosing exact numbers. With a market value of about $20 million, the firm reported an operating loss after income tax for the half December 2019 of just over A$3 million ($2.10 million).

At 0532 GMT, the company's shares were up 4.3% at A$0.049.

"Lithium Australia is further reducing outgoings and maximising support for the business units closest to positive cash flow for the benefit of shareholders," it said in the filing.

The firm said there would be "some reduction in workforce numbers" without specifying how many jobs would be lost at the firm.

Despite a return of appetite for many commodities in the battery-minerals sector, the company said it expected lithium prices, which have been in a downward spiral for about two years on weak demand, to take much longer to recover.

($1 = 1.4310 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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