Pilbara Minerals has loaded its maiden shipment of 8800t of spodumene concentrate from the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia to its charter vessel, the M.V. Pola Devora.
The vessel will depart Port Hedland to Pilbara Minerals’ offtake partners in north Asia.
The loading of the next vessel – of around 15,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) – is planned for the third week of October, given the current production rates at Pilgangoora.
Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said, “Our first shipment is ‘on spec’ and will soon be on its way to our customers, representing a historic moment for everyone involved with the company.
“To achieve this in under four years since we put in our first drill hole is a demonstration of the quality of our project, our people and our partners.
“There is no doubt the Pilgangoora project is a world-class resource, however it’s the sheer commitment, passion and hard work of our people and partners that has brought it to fruition so quickly and at such high quality.”
Brinsden said the company would continue to focus on ramping up the plant to its stage one nameplate capacity, aimed to fulfil the “sizeable” off-take positions of Pilbara Minerals’ customers.
“With the ramp-up of all elements of the stage one project now well and truly on track, the stage two expansion of the Pilgangoora project to 5 million tonnes per year (Mt/y) will now be front-of-mind for us,” he said.
The double-capacity target expansion is considered the optimal production rate to unlock the value of a 40-year mine life at Pilgangoora and will cost $207 million.