DFS results and customer confidence support major expansion of Pilgangoora
Australian lithium developer Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX: PLS) (Pilbara Minerals or the Company) has announced the results of the DFS for the Stage 2, 5Mtpa (Stage 2, 5Mtpa DFS) expansion of its 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project (Pilgangoora project).
The completion of Stage 2, 5Mtpa DFS is a major step forward in unlocking significant additional value from Pilbara Minerals’ world-class Pilgangoora project in Western Australia, where commissioning of the Stage 1 project is underway.
The Stage 2, 5Mtpa DFS has delivered exceptional results and re-affirms the Pilgangoora project’s scale, quality, competitive forecast cash operating costs, robust operating margins, long life and exceptional economic returns. These results, together with the significant potential for increased Ore Reserves, demonstrate Pilbara Minerals’ ability to expand the Pilgangoora project to take full advantage of the growing lithium market.
While the DFS has delivered a slight increase in capital costs from A$207M to A$231M and LOM cash operating costs of US$263/t (CIF), the engineering re-design introduces an additional 3Mtpa processing circuit, compared to the 2.5Mtpa contemplated by the PFS. This provides advantages such as additional flexibility in the operation of the plant and the potential for further expansion capacity of the plant over time. The Stage 2, 5Mtpa expansion will be a globally cost competitive operation producing between 800,000 – 850,000tpa of high-quality spodumene concentrate over its 17-year mine life.
Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, Ken Brinsden, said “We continue to be impressed by the quality and scale of the Pilgangoora project. The long life of the operation and its ability to deliver a high-quality spodumene concentrate at a low cost to market is what sets us apart globally. This and our ability to rapidly scale-up spodumene concentrate production to over 800,000tpa plays perfectly into our downstream value adding strategy of continuing to grow with our customers and supports the proposed joint venture with POSCO.”
The 5Mtpa Pilgangoora project expansion will position Pilbara Minerals to meet the surging demand for lithium raw materials globally, particularly through north Asia. It has the strong support of all four of Pilbara Minerals’ cornerstone customers and strategic partners which provides a compelling case for the expansion.
“The encouragement from our partners, General Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium, Great Wall Motors and POSCO, to expand our operations has been outstanding. These highly experienced partners know the market and their ongoing support, particularly with Stage 2 financing, is a clear demonstration of the strong future demand for lithium and the high quality of the Pilgangoora project”, said Mr Brinsden.
Mr Brinsden thanked the team behind the delivery of Stage 2, 5Mtpa DFS, which was undertaken in parallel with the construction and now commissioning of Stage 1 of the Pilgangoora project.
“The Pilbara Minerals team is second to none. The team, along with our consultants, have done an exceptional job to deliver the DFS on time and to a very high standard. With Stage 1 of the Pilgangoora project developed and commissioning underway within four years from the first drill hole, I am confident in our team’s ability to deliver the 5Mtpa expansion and continue to deliver a world class project.”