Altura has announced plans for an immediate feasibility study to double capacity of its Pilgangoora lithium project following positive scoping results.
The company hopes to increase its capacity by 100 per cent to 440,000 tonnes per annum (at 6 per cent lithium oxide) following results of the study, which is due to be completed in April 2018.
Recently revised resource estimates have indicated 34.2 million tonnes (Mt) of ore in total, at 1.04 per cent lithium oxide, and 357,000 tonnes of contained lithium oxide. Roughly a quarter of these results (8.1Mt) have been proven, while the remaining three-quarters (26.1Mt) are considered probable.
The scoping study revealed that that a plant duplication model was the best option for maximising shareholder value; first production of the new plant is expected to being around 17 months after approval. The mine is expected to have a life of over 10 years, based on JORC estimates.
James Brown, managing director of Altura, was pleased with the scoping study results and said it was the right time for an expansion, and that the company was still on track for first commissioning and sales in Q1 and Q2 of 2018, respectively.
“We continue to see strength in the lithium market and positive demand signals from offtakers,” he said. “[This] effective duplication should be both relatively straightforward and result in no disruption from our Stage 1 production.”