Australian lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has shortlisted three contracting groups to tender for the process plant design and construction package at its Pilgangoora Project, 120km from Port Hedland in Western Australia.
A total of nine groups expressed interest in the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) process, and were required to demonstrate a well established track record in lithium plant engineering and construction.
The Process Plant (and associated proocess infrastructure) will be delivered under an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) approach in order to meet the tight timeframes to deliver the Pilgangoora Project.
"By adopting an ECI arrangement, we will be able to compress the timeframe for the EPC selection process, allowing us to achieve our key objective of commissioning the project in Q4 2017 while still maintaining a highly competitive process that ensures we get the best possible outcome for the project and our shareholders," said Pilbara's Managing Director Ken Brinsden.
The three shortlisted bidders now invited to participate in competitive pricing negotiations include:
- Como Engineers / Ausenco;
- RCR Tomlinson / Primero Group / Minnovo; and
- Kiewit Australia / Hatch
According to a company statement, Pilbara Minerals agreed that "the three selected groups presented the best combined technical and commercial capability and would offer not only independent viable solutions in their own right, but would also maintain a level of competitive tension throughout the ECI process - which would translate into favourable outcomes for the Project, Pilbara Minerals and its shareholders."
RCR Tomlinson have already had a stellar month in terms of contract awards, recently securing four new contracts with a combined value of $170 million and a major contract for Rio Tinto's Silvergrass Project.
This shortlisting also presents international contractor Kiewit with their largest contract opportunity since winning a $296 million general services contract with Ertech for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project in Western Australia.
The timeframe for the tender phase is expected to be compressed to around three months for a package of this nature, and will see tendering parties submit a lump sum EPC offer.
Image Courtesy of Pilbara Minerals
According to Business News, the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project is expected to cost $184 million, with development of the process plant accounting for about $104 million.
Six mining contractors and two stand-alone drill and blast contractors have submitted pricing for the upcoming Polgangoora Mining Contract tender, and Pilbara Minerals "is further considering its strategy to short-list mining contractors."
Engenium has been appointed to deliver Project Management Consultancy services at the project, wokring as part of an Integrated Owner's Management Team.