PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals has nearly doubled spodumene concentrate production in the September quarter, compared with the three months to June, with sales also increasing.
The miner on Monday reported that spodumene concentrate production reached 62 404 t during the September quarter, compared with the 34 484 t produced in the June quarter, while sales increased from 29 312 t to 43 630 t in the same period.
Pilbara reported an increase in the plant run-time and utilization at its Pilgangoora operation, in Western Australia, with use across the quarter averaging some 70% to 75%, compared with the 40% reported in the June quarter.
“The tangible progress that has been achieved on a number of fronts at Pilgangoora during the quarter is a credit to the continued hard work and dedication of our team and contractor business partners. We are very pleased to see continued improvements in important key metrics like plant utilization and run time and sustained product recoveries, which collectively translated into a continued downward trend in unit operating costs towards our long-term targeted level of $320/t to $350/t,” said Pilbara MD and CEO Ken Brinsden.
Brinsden noted that despite the improvement in sales volumes for the quarter, the spodumene concentrate price remained weak, reflecting the sustained lower pricing and demand being experienced across the lithium raw materials supply chain.
“Pilgangoora is a tier 1, long life asset that is ideally placed to capitalise on the turnaround in the lithium market. While we fully expect that turnaround to eventuate in the not too distant future, we are still seeing soft market conditions persist across the entire lithium-ion supply chain.
“The pleasing trends seen in the September quarter, together with the recently completed refinancing, give us confidence that we can weather the current market conditions and quickly ramp up production and shipments as demand and prices recover.”