Lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has increased the mineral resource at its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in the Pilbara just weeks from launching production.
The company believes the new resource estimate provides further support for the “already compelling business case” for the construction and development of the proposed stage two, 5Mt/y expansion of the operation.
Pilgangoora’s measured, indicated and inferred resource has grown by 36 per cent to 213Mt at grades of 1.32 per cent Li2O and 116ppm Ta205, containing 2.82Mt of lithium oxide and 54.6Mlb of Ta205, with the update.
Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said the key features of the latest upgrade included another big jump in resource tonnes, a massive uplift in the measured and indicated resource categories and a higher overall lithia upgrade.
“This reinforces the outstanding credentials of Pilgangoora – which is, by any measure, one of the most important lithium and tantalum resources globally,” Brinsden said.
“With the project now just weeks away from the start of stage one production, we could not be better placed to take full advantage of burgeoning demand for lithium raw materials – which keeps surprising to the upside.
“Our focus is now very much on the upcoming commissioning and ramp-up activities, which will ensure that the company can make the all-important transition from developer to a globally significant new strategic metals supplier over the coming months.”
Pilbara Minerals plans to launch the stage two expansion following the start of first concentrate and the ramp-up of spodumene concentrate production from the stage one, 2Mt/y operation.
The updated resource will underpin a new ore reserve for Pilgangoora that is expected in the September quarter.
Pilbara Minerals’ update also included a 35 per cent increase in the measured and indicated resource to 129Mt, at grades of 1.35% Li2O, 123ppm Ta2O5 and 0.61% Fe2O3, containing 1.75Mt of lithium oxide and 35.1Mlb of Ta2O5.
With an increased cut-off grade of 1 per cent Li2O, the measured, indicated and inferred lithium resource amounts to 160.8Mt at 1.50 per cent Li2O containing 2.4Mt of lithium oxide.