Pilbara Minerals prepares for lithium rebound

The Pilgangoora operation. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals has continued to battle against weak customer demand for lithium raw materials, moderating its mining and processing operations while Chinese market conditions remain soft.

The company is drawing down on existing stockpiles at the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia, aligning production with reduced customer demand requirements.

It is also completing major processing plant optimisation works that have improved lithium recovery.

Pilbara Minerals produced 90,768 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate during the 2020 financial year, shipping 116,256 dry metric tonnes of product following draw down from the existing stock.

Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said the company was able to generate income through engagement with customers including new offtake agreements with the Great Wall Motor Company and Yibin Tianyi.

“While our financial performance was clearly impacted by continued weak demand for lithium raw materials, our team responded to these challenges with the deployment of a production moderation strategy,” Brinsden said.

“We have delivered on this strategy on several fronts; firstly, the combination of moderated production and improved lithium recoveries helped us reduce operating costs.

“Secondly, a $111.5 million equity raising strengthened our balance sheet and put us in a strong position to weather the storm.

“We maintained operational continuity and delivered shipments to our customers while navigating the challenges presented by COVID-19.”

Despite the difficulties of the lithium market, Brinsden is optimistic about the company’s success when the anticipated rebound in demand for the commodity occurs.

“Despite the obvious challenges experienced during the year I believe there is plenty to hang our hat on,” he said.

“We are ready and raring to go for 2021 and well positioned to take full advantage of the expected rebound in the lithium market when it arises.”

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