Pilbara Minerals prepares to strike as lithium resurgence nears

The Pilgangoora operation. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals is set to receive $US110 million ($153.3 million) in financing, positioning it to capitalise on the growing demand for raw lithium materials.

The company inked such agreement with international bank BNP Paribas and Australia’s clean energy investor, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

This will support the stage one of the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia, which is positioned to become a major player in the global lithium supply chain once in full production.

The company stated that it was not rushing to finalise further feasibility at this stage while the market remained unstable, but was progressing studies to a point any expansion could be undertaken quickly and efficiently.

Despite lithium prices remaining low, the sector received a welcome boost as governments across Asia and China introduce stimulus packages and incentives for electric vehicle (EV) subsidies and renewable energy solutions.

While present market signalling indicates that the lithium price is approaching its bottom, investment banks and analysts have tipped a surge in demand and rising prices during 2021.

This comes after electric vehicle company Tesla surpassed Toyota as the world’s most valuable car company, a welcome sign for lithium producers.

Pilbara Minerals continued campaign mining and processing despite the soft market conditions, producing 34,484 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate during the June 2020 quarter, a significant lift form the 20,251 dry metric tonnes in the March quarter.

The company shipped 29,312 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate, in line with its contract specifications and guidance.

The Pilgangoora project in Western Australia continued operating under moderate restrictions due to COVID-19, with the plant running at 40 per cent of its availability time during the quarter.

Pilbara Minerals was still able to achieve improved lithium recovery levels, even with the plant operating at lower capacity.

The company aims to sell between 40,000 and 50,000 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate in the September quarter.

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