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Pilbara Minerals plans Pilgangoora lithium expansion in 2018

Pilbara Minerals says it can more than double the capacity of its Pilgangoora lithium tantalum project south of Port Hedland by spending just $207 million.

The Ken Brinsden-led company this morning released the findings of a pre-feasibility study on boosting the mine’s production rate from 2Mtpa to 5Mtpa and improving the overall economics of the mine.

Pilbara is targeting the first production with its stage one 2Mtpa operation by the middle of the year but hopes to complete a definitive feasibility study into the 5Mtpa ramp-up and make a final investment decision on the expansion in the third quarter.

Under the plan, construction on stage two would begin in the fourth quarter with commissioning in the final quarter of 2019.

The expanded operation will enable the production of as much as 800,000tpa of 6 percent spodumene concentrate, up from the 330,000tpa planned in the $274 million stage one development.

Mr Brinsden said the logic behind the company’s accelerated expansion strategy was underpinned by growth in the lithium-ion supply chain and exploration which had boosted Pilgangoora’s reserve base to a mine life of more than 40 years at the 2Mtpa production rate. Read more…

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