Pilbara Minerals finds Chinese backing amid softening market

Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals plans to sell an 8.5 per cent stake in the company to China’s largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer despite a slowdown in lithium’s largest market.

The company will raise $55 million with a strategic placement to China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology and $36.5 million through an institutional placement, raising $91.5 million in total.

Pilbara Minerals intends to use the proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet as the Pilgangoora project ramps up to stage one spodumene concentrate nameplate capacity.

The Pilgangoora project is also undergoing rectification and improvement projects, which include the installation of additional low-intensity magnetic separation units to assist in improved recovery.

“While there has been commentary talking down the current state of lithium markets, it has belied the significant interest we have continued to see from the strategic players in the lithium-ion supply chain and their focus on lithium raw material supply,” Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said.

“In particular, the focus is on the quality and security of the lithium raw material supply and matching the raw material demand growth to growth downstream in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.”

The company will issue 305.1 million new shares to raise $91.5 million at $0.30 a share to underpin its equity raising. It also plans to raise a further $20 million from eligible shareholders.

Pilbara Minerals plans to use part of the capital raised to help fund the initial 21 per cent equity interest in the proposed POSCO downstream joint venture in South Korea.

The company is targeting the completion of a revised stage two expansion feasibility study for Pilgangoora by December.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.