Lithium market poised for recovery: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals has reached record December quarter shipments at the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia while flagging a rebound in the lithium market.

The company shipped 70,609 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate during the December period, exceeding its quarterly guidance of 55,000 to 70,000 dry metric tonnes.

This represents nearly a 40 per cent increase on shipments on the previous quarter, where Pilbara Minerals shipped 43,630 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate.

Company managing director Ken Brinsden said the record tonnes shipped from Pilgangoora signified an increasing customer demand and upward trend in the price for lithium chemicals in China.

“The significant amount of work we have undertaken over the past 18 months in improving lithia recoveries, reducing operating costs and refinancing our senior debt facility, together with the impending acquisition of the neighbouring Altura lithium project, means that Pilbara Minerals is well positioned to respond to a recovery in the lithium market and capitalise on improvements in market conditions,” he said.

Lithium chemicals prices within China have jumped, with Platts battery grade lithium carbonate pricing up 35 per cent from its lows in August last year, according to Pilbara Minerals.

The company has also opened its share purchase offer to investors at $0.36 a share to raise a further $121 million to fund its acquisition of Altura Mining’s Pilgangoora project.

Pilbara Minerals is offering to acquire Altura for $US175 million ($224 million).

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