Pilbara eyes long-term lithium project
Ken Brinsden-led Pilbara Minerals believes it is sitting on the second-biggest lithium deposit in the world after announcing this week the resource it controls in the North West is 60 per cent bigger than estimated.
Pilbara Minerals is seizing on the upgrade of its Pilgangoora tantalum-lithium project to push ahead next month with a definitive feasibility study which Mr Brinsden says will pave the way for mining 3.89 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.
“Pilgangoora has all the attributes to become a low-cost, longlife producer,” he said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange. Lithium is a key component in new-generation batteries.
There are 40 companies chasing deposits in WA.
The purity of the Greenbushes operation, 250km south of Perth, makes it the world’s biggest lithium deposit.
Tawana Resources has joined the lithium race, with former Perseus Mining boss Mark Calderwood installed as chief executive to explore prospective ground in the Goldfields.
Tawana shares subsided 5.3 per cent yesterday to close at 7.2 cents.
Mr Calderwood said the lithium boom “still has some legs in it”, though many lithium exploration stocks were overvalued.
He said Australia had room for fewer than 10 producers of the commodity. Tawana’s Yallari project is on adjoining tenements to the Mt Marion lithium mine, 40km south-west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Mt Marion co-owners Neometals and Mineral Resources have released a feasibility study described as a major step towards commercialisation of their patented ELi process.
Neometals boss Chris Reed said the technology converted spodumene concentrate into a lithium chloride solution, then used electrolysis to produce lithium hydroxide and carbonate.
The feasibility study claimed it would cost $US158 million to build a processing plant, with payback in 2.6 years and $US4.04 billion revenue over 20 years.
Ken Brinsden says Pilgangoora could be a low-cost, long-life producer.