Perth-based lithium developer Pilbara Minerals is preparing to send the first shipment of lithium concentrate from its Pilgangoora project to offtake partners in China.
Loading of an 8,800 wet metric tonne (wmt) consignment started at the West Australian port of Port Hedland on 30 September. It will be followed by a 15,000t consignment in the third week of October. Pilbara Minerals' offtake partners are General Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium.
The first shipment comprises a blend of coarse and fines concentrate from Stage 1 of the Pilgangoora project, which is expected to produce around 350,000 t/yr at full capacity from the processing of around 2mn t/yr of ore.
Pilbara Minerals will now focus on ramping up the plant to fulfil its offtake requirements, chief executive Ken Brinsden said.
A Stage 2 expansion of the Pilgangoora project will take processing to 5mn t/yr of ore to produce around 800,000 t/yr of lithium concentrate. An investment decision on Stage 2 expansion is due before the end of this year, with offtake agreements already in place with China's Great Wall Motors and South Korea's Posco.
Pilbara has also completed its first delivery of 40t of by-product tantalum to offtake partner Global Advanced Metals.