Pilbara Minerals pushes Pilgangoora towards construction with environmental approval

Lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has secured another environmental approval for the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia.

It is the last of the major approval milestones for the project and clears the way for construction of Pilgangoora to begin, according to Pilbara.

Acceptance of the company’s Pilgangoora mining proposal by WA’s Department of Mines and Petroleum follows Pilbara receiving the native vegetation clearing permit and the project management plan approval.

Pilbara managing director Ken Brinsden described completion of the “extensive environmental approvals process” as a significant milestone for the company.

“Pilbara has achieved an enormous amout in a very short period of time and, with these final environmental approvals now in place, the company is firmly on track to becoming the next major lithium raw materials supplier globally,” Brinsden said.

“With the achievement of each of these important milestones, we have continued to de-risk the Pilgangoora project.

“Now, with project financing around the corner, our shareholders can look forward to steady news-flow as we complete major construction milestones on site and move into full-scale development phase – putting us on track to begin commissioning the project from the first quarter of next year.”

The environmental approval is Pilbara’s latest key development at Pilgangoora in 2017. In January, Pilbara awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to RCR Tomlinson.

Worth $148 million, the contract 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.

Last month, the company locked in an off-take agreement with China’s Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium for spodumene production from the operation.

The off-take agreement involves 160,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of chemical-grade spodumene concentrate production from stage one of the lithium-tantalum project over an initial 10-year period, with two five-year options to extend the arrangement by an additional 10 years.

Pilgangoora is about 120km from Port Hedland in the state’s north-west.

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