Australian lithium miner Pilbara Minerals produced 47,859
tonnes of lithium spodumene, min 6%, at its Pilgangoora
lithium-tantalum mine in Western Australia in the final
quarter of last year, up from 11,015 tonnes in the third
Pilbara Minerals sold 46,682 tonnes of lithium spodumene
with an average grade of 6.11% in the December quarter, at an
average selling price of $742 per tonne cfr. The buyers were
General Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium, its Chinese partners for
offtake from the first phase of operations.
Fastmarkets assessed the price of lithium spodumene, min
5-6%, cif China, at $600-750 per tonne on on December 26, down
by $50 per tonne month on month.
Pilbara Minerals started the commissioning and production of
lithium spodumene in June 2018, shipping the first 8,800 tonnes
of lithium spodumene, min 6.1%, in October.
Pilgangoora is currently producing at 85% of first-phase
design capacity. It has a production target of 330,000 tonnes
per year of lithium spodumene, min 6%, the equivalent of nearly
43,000 tpy of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).
The first phase is anticipated to run from June 2018 to 2020.
The second-phase expansion is set to start commissioning in
the first quarter of 2020, with the intention of increasing
the company’s total output by as much as 850,000
tpy of lithium spodumene, min 6% - or close to 110,000 tpy of
Direct shipping ore program suspended
Pilbara Minerals has suspended its direct shipping ore (DSO)
program with customers Atlas Iron and Sinosteel, currently
pending final evaluation.
The company said that the strong performance of first-phase
spodumene production, alongside softer markets conditions in
China, had forced the company to reassess the benefits of
The shipping of DSO was a strategy employed by Pilbara
Minerals in the early stages of phase one to generate cash flow
during construction, when peak cash outflow was forecast.
Pilbara Minerals is now in talks with Atlas Iron and
Sinosteel since the phase-one construction period has
concluded, and now that the benefits of keeping a separate DSO
operation are no longer material, the producer added.
Pilbara Minerals sold 205,766 tonnes of DSO in the September
quarter and 145,974 tonnes in the June quarter of 2018.