PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has started initial work on the five-million-tonne-a-year expansion at its Pilgangoora operation, in Western Australia, even as it works toward achieving Stage 1 production by the second quarter of 2018.
Pilbara on Monday told shareholders that the company had awarded further key contracts, and appointed senior personnel at its Pilgangoora project, in line with its construction schedule, which would see the Stage 1, two-million-tonne-a-year operation ship its first spodumene concentrate in the second quarter of 2018.
Pilbara Minerals MD Ken Brinsden said the company’s development team was working with its contractors to deliver on the aggressive development schedule for the Pilgangoora project, ensuring that the company remained on track to become a significant new, low-cost lithium producer by early next year.
“Our entire team is focused on ensuring delivery of the Stage 1 Pilgangoora project, with site works now well advanced.”
Meanwhile, Pilbara has appointed mining executive Dale Henderson in the role of project director to deliver the balance of the Stage 1 construction, establish Pilbara’s operational readiness, and then take responsibility for the ongoing operations.
“As activities ramp up, we are delighted to have secured an executive of Henderson’s calibre and project development and operations experience, which will be invaluable in the delivery and operations at Pilgangoora,” commented Brinsden.
“Importantly, his commencement also allows us to allocate additional resources to the five-million-tonne-a-year expansion programme, which would see mine production capacity grow to approximately 100 000 t/y of lithium carbonate equivalent.
“Investors should not lose sight of the incredible scale we can achieve at Pilgangoora and, in light of the current and projected demand for lithium, Pilgangoora is ideally placed to meet this near-term and future demand for raw materials for the burgeoning lithium-ion global supply chain,” Brinsden added.
Pilbara is aiming to complete a definitive feasibility study on the expansion project by mid-2018.