After conducting a pre-feasibility study, Pilbara Minerals has announced that expansion works on the Pilgangoora project - located near Port Hedland in Western Australia - could get underway as early as this year.
The $207 million stage two expansion will bring up the mine’s capacity from 2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) – from the first stage of the project – to 5mtpa of ore, which will mean an output of approximately 800ktpa of lithium concentrate as well as 780,000 pounds of tantalite – a mineral that contains tantalum.
“The exponential growth which is occurring across the lithium-ion supply chain as the industry in China and elsewhere gears up for transformational growth to meet demand from the automotive and energy storage sectors is now becoming better understood.
“It was against this backdrop that we commenced the stage two expansion studies at Pilgangoora last year in parallel with construction of the stage one, 2mtpa project,” Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director Ken Brinsden said.
The first stage of the project is currently under construction and commissioning of the mine is expected to commence by May 2018.
Source: Pilbara Minerals
Pilbara Minerals is set to conduct a definitive feasibility study on the project, which is due in mid-2018. The final investment decision is due to be made by the September quarter of this year.
Construction on the second stage of the Pilgangoora project is expected to begin by the final quarter of 2018 and commissioning by the end of 2019.
“An expansion to 5mtpa was deemed to be the optimal production rate to unlock further value in the deposit and maximise the financial returns to shareholders.
“This decision has been fully vindicated by the pre-feasibility study results, which have shown a significant improvement in several key areas compared to the 2mtpa operation currently being constructed,” Mr Brinsden said.
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