The exports of lithium concentrate (spodumene) at Port Hedland have jumped from 10,494 dry metric tonnes in August to 62,230 dry metric tonnes in September, according to monthly data from Pilbara Ports Authority.
In July, Port Hedland recorded 26,383 dmt of lithium concentrate exports.
It comes as the mining industry continues to experience rising demands for the product, with battery metals one of mining’s hottest exploits at the moment.
Pilbara Minerals (PilMin), which exports via Port Hedland and is represented by its Pilgangoora lithium operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, has been somewhat of a barometer for the booming lithium market.
In September, PilMin announced it had conducted its second-ever auction on the Battery Material Exchange to incredible results.
The companies first auction yielded the equivalent of $US1420 ($1935) per tonne for spodumene at the benchmark price, but it was revealed its second auction nearly doubled that.
The second auction fetched $US2240 ($3052) a tonne of lithium concentrate for the 8000 tonnes sold.
In the same timeframe, PilMin flaunted its development with a swanky share price of $2.26 (up from 32 cents a year earlier).
PilMin’s growth comes as the company’s Ngungaju plant restarts operations within the Pilgangoora complex.
PilMin achieved first coarse spodumene production from its Ngungaju plant this week, as the plant undergoes commissioning.
The milestone came one week after the company announced it had begun commissioning the restart of the operation’s second plant.
The ore used to restart the plant had few other uses and was seen by Pilbara Minerals as ideal for this purpose.
Once both the Pilgan and Ngungaju circuits are ramped up, the plant will produce 180,000 to 200,000 dry metric tonnes by mid-2022, complementing the Pilgan plant’s – Pilgangoora’s first plant – planned 360,000 to 380,000 tonne per annum next year.