Pilbara Minerals takes final step of Altura acquisition

The Pilgangoora operation. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals is inching closer to calling the Altura lithium project in Western Australia its own after launching a $240 million equity raising to fund the acquisition.

During October, Pilbara Minerals secured an agreement to purchase Altura Mining’s lithium operations, including its Pilgangoora site.

The site is conveniently located 30 minutes by road to Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project, which produces 330,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate annually.

Pilbara Minerals will fund the acquisition through a $240 million equity raising, made up of a completed $119 million cornerstone placement and an upcoming $121 million entitlement offer.

Both raisings are set at a fixed offer price of 36 cents per share.

Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said the acquisition would provide the company with maximum flexibility to operate an enlarged Pilgangoora operation once both projects have been consolidated.

“We are pleased to confirm the successful completion of the placement and announce the formal launch of the entitlement offer, which represents the final step in acquiring the Altura project,” Brinsden said.

“The acquisition of the Altura project on an unencumbered basis provides us with maximum flexibility. (Altura Lithium Operations) placed the project into care and maintenance on October 26 and since then, our technical team has been undertaking an evaluation of the operations.

“When combined with an assessment of the prevailing market conditions, (this) will ultimately help us decide when to recommence operations at the Altura project under a single, unified operation.”

Altura reached commercial spodumene production in March 2019, before it bowed to the pressure of a struggling lithium market and put Altura on care and maintenance and up for sale in October.

It had been in production since 2018, and in the 2019-20 financial year, produced 181,263 wet metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate.

The Altura project is part of the same mineralised system as Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora operation, and uses similar open-pit mining techniques and equipment.

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