THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) has made the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Stage 2 expansion to five million tonnes per annum of the company’s 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Pilbara Minerals’ Board endorsed the continued expansion of Pilgangoora, subject to obtaining necessary regulatory approvals and securing the balance of project funding.
The company said the decision followed completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study, 100 per cent of the Stage 2 offtake being sold to high-quality customers and general support from the customer base to continue to expand the Pilgangoora operations.
Pilbara Minerals outlined progress with a number of funding alternatives for Stage 2, including debt and/or offtake prepayment funding from customers linked to accessing Stage 2 product as well as other alternate finance structures.
Stage 2 project works are continuing with the company confident of meeting its objective of commissioning Stage 2 from the December quarter, 2019.
Stage 1 development continues to progress with Pilbara Minerals’ shipping its second shipment of spodumene concentrate from Port Hedland in the second half of October with 6.3 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) onboard.
Production from Pilgangoora Stage 1 is also sticking to the script with the progress being made in the continued ramp-up and optimisation of production.
“Pilbara Minerals has established a track record of getting things done – developing at scale, successfully executing a rapid build and ramp-up of the Stage 1 project and confirming our ability to deliver high-quality products to our customers,” Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“These achievements and more have allowed us to attract and grow production with premium customers in the global lithium-ion supply chain.
“Against a backdrop of significant demand growth for lithium raw materials over the coming decade, the quality and scale of the resource at our Pilgangoora project demands further expansion.
“This will ensure it becomes a mainstay in the next generation of large-scale, low-cost mines to support the significant growth in downstream lithium hydroxide capacity.
“In much the same way as we got on with the job in Stage 1, we will work to the same tune in Stage 2.”