Pilbara and Ganfeng to study lithium conversion plant

25th March 2024 By: Creamer Media Reporter

Pilbara and Ganfeng to study lithium conversion plant

Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals has announced a joint feasibility study with China’s Ganfeng Group to develop a downstream lithium conversion plant.

The study, which will be completed in the March quarter of next year, will consider a conversion plant that could produce 32 000 lithium carbon equivalent of lithium chemicals, along with a potential intermedia lithium chemical product.

An agreed list of countries, including Australia, will be studied as a location for the plant.

The feasibility study will ultimately enable Pilbara with the option, but not the obligation, to proceed with a lithium chemicals joint venture (JV), said MD and CEO Dale Henderson.

“This incremental move supports our strategic aim to capture greater value through the supply chain and realise the benefits of supply chain integration,” he said.

The agreement with Ganfeng adds to two existing strategic partnerships for Pilbara, being the downstream JV with Posco and the JV with Calix for the construction of a midstream lithium chemicals demonstration plant.

The company is currently executing two mine expansion projects at Pilgangoora to lift production output of spodumene concentrate, being the P680 and P1000 projects. The completion of these projects will provide an increase in the yearly nameplate production run rate to about one-million tonnes a year. Once fully expanded and at nameplate production, this expanded production profile will support all offtake commitments which currently exist from the 2027 calendar year and the additional supply of 300 000 t/y to the JV’s lithium chemical plant if final investment decision is approved and the JV is formed.

Beyond these commitments, this expanded production profile also provides a significant level of unallocated production.

Pilbara is also progressing studies to assess the feasibility of expanding production capacity beyond one-million tonnes a year with outcomes expected in the June quarter.

Ganfeng is one of the global leaders of lithium chemical conversion, with more than 20 years’ experience, including more than five years converting Pilbara product.