Altura Mining has produced the first batch of lithium concentrate from its project at Pilgangoora in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
The company made the transition from developer to miner last week, 16 months after first ground was broken at Pilgangoora in March 2017.
At full production the operation’s processing plant will produce 220,000t a year of 6 per cent lithium concentrate to supply the electric vehicle and static storage lithium battery market.
Altura managing director James Brown said the company had worked to a stringent and aggressive timetable with the project.
“As with any development, there are obstacles which occur, however the entire team has worked tirelessly to be in the position we are in today, where we are in sight of delivering our first shipment of concentrate,” Brown said.
“Our focus now is to ramp-up production to full capacity over coming six months and then we can turn our attention to the expansion project.”
Altura is further encouraged by on-site testing of the first production batch by laboratory operator Intertek.
According to Altura, the results have shown a concentrate product grade exceeding the industry benchmark SC6 concentrate specifications and fits comfortably within those required by the company’s offtake agreements.
The project’s expansion project involves the duplication of the processing plant to produce 440,000t/y of lithium concentrate. Altura released a definitive feasibility study for the expansion during April.