RCR Tomlinson secures EPC contract at Pilbara lithium project

Image: Pilbara Minerals

Lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract at the Pilgangoora project in Western Australia to RCR Tomlinson.

The contract, worth a maximum $148 million, involves the EPC of Pilgangoora’s two million tonnes per annum lithium-tantalum processing plant, including wet-and-dry circuit with concentrator, associated plant and commissioning of the mine.

Pilgangoora’s processing plant is scheduled to start production in first quarter 2018.

The contract has a maximum value of about $148 million with an incentivised target price of $138 million. It has been awarded in two stages, with the first stage being a two-month FEED (front-end engineering and design) program, which will determine the final scope of work, timeline and target price. Pilbara Minerals has committed about $10.3 million to stage one.

Stage two of the contract is dependent on Pilbara Minerals making its final investment decision (FID) for the project, which is expected by March 2017.

The Pilgangoora contract win adds to RCR’s recent activity in the Pilbara region, including the delivery of two processing plants for Fortescue Metals Group at the Solomon iron ore operations. RCR also won a $120 million contract to provide materials handling systems at Rio Tinto’s Silvergrass iron ore mine in August last year.

RCR managing director and chief executive Paul Dalgleish said the Pilgangoora contract win, when added to recent awards, firmly placed the company as a leader in the EPC of processing plants in the mining sector.

“It will also increase RCR’s order book to a new record high of approximately $1.1 billion,” Dalgleish said.

RCR has selected sub-contractors, Primero and Minnovo, to provide it with technical and engineering support at Pilgangoora.

Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brinsden said the combination of the three contractors made for a “very compelling offering.”

“Primero’s experience in building and operating lithium plants, Minnovo’s design experience, and the construction capability of RCR ensures Pilbara will be well served,” Brinsden said.

“With project funding discussions well advanced and final environmental approvals now under way, Pilbara looks forward to starting the major construction works by the end of this quarter.”

Meanwhile, Pilbara Minerals has awarded the first stage of a 300-room camp relocation package and reestablishment works contract worth $4.8 million to OTOC Australia.