Pilbara Minerals secures new Pilgangoora spodumene buyer

The Pilgangoora operation. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals has locked in a five-year offtake agreement with Yibin Tianyi to supply spodumene concentrate from the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia.

The offtake agreement will supply 75,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate from 2021 to 2024, with an initial 60,000 tonnes per annum to be distributed this year.

Pilbara Minerals has evaded coronavirus impacts on its exports after the company enjoyed ongoing sales to China and South Korea during the March quarter.

The company’s Pilgangoora mining and process plant operations are also under way, with 72 percent of lithia recovery achieved on average for the latest plant campaign.

“We welcome Yibin Tianyi as a new offtake partner for our Pilgangoora project. This agreement is the outcome of the significant work which our team has been undertaking to further diversify our customer base and to support the large long-term production base now established at Pilgangoora,” Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said.

“Given Yibin Tianyi’s position as a key lithium chemical supplier to our largest shareholder CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology), our new partnership will further integrate Pilbara Minerals within the supply chain of the world’s largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer.”

Yibin Tianyi is a Chinese-based supplier in the Sichuan Province, which is expected to become a leading lithium chemical and battery materials supplier due to its involvement in CATL’s lithium supply chain.

“Given Yibin Tianyi’s position as a key lithium chemical supplier to our largest shareholder CATL, our new partnership will further integrate Pilbara Minerals within the supply chain of the world’s largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer,” Brinsden said.

“This will allow us to capture value from the future growth in the electric vehicle market while also supporting Yibin Tianyi’s growth ambitions to become one of the biggest lithium chemical suppliers in China.”

The opportunity for Pilbara Minerals and Yibin Tianyi to extend their contract is available once the current agreement ends in 2024.

Pilbara Minerals also has not experienced any material impact to its Pilgangoora operations as a result of the coronavirus situation, however, the company expects demand to soften due to the pandemic.

The company has deployed a moderated production strategy to maintain its working capital.

Pilbara Minerals has continued to monitor the coronavirus situation and introduced new hygiene and health management actions for its workers.

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