The first shipment of direct shipping ore (DSO) from Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia has left Port Hedland bound for China.
Atlas Iron, under a mine gate sale agreement with Pilbara Minerals, shipped the 85,000t of DSO from Utah Point on Saturday.
The shipment will be received by Sinosteel under a separate off-take agreement it has with Atlas Iron for lithium DSO from Pilgangoora.
It comes just days after Pilbara Minerals started commissioning of the Pilgangoora concentrator as it moves towards launching production this quarter.
Pilbara Minerals managing director and chief executive Ken Brinsden said the shipment marked another step in the emergence of Pilgangoora on the world stage as a major new supplier of lithium raw materials.
“The DSO operation will generate valuable early revenue and cash-flow for the company while we progress the commissioning and ramp-up of the main long-term concentrate operation,” Brinsden said.
Under the mine gate agreement, Pilbara Minerals will deliver a minimum of 1Mt of unprocessed run-of-mine lithium-tantalum material from Pilgangoora to Atlas.
The agreement is based on a delivery schedule designed to allow Atlas to ship 100,000t of DSO a month to Sinosteel and potential other offtake partners.