Pilbara Minerals has increased the resource of its Pilgangoora tantalum-lithium project in Western Australia by 39 per cent to 309 million tonnes, helping pave the way for a longer mine life.
The discovery of pegmatite domains and integration of the Ngungaju Resource led to the 309 million-tonne resource increase, including 1.4 per cent lithium oxide, 103 parts per million tantalum oxide and 0.56 per cent iron oxide.
This contains 3.5 million tonnes of lithium oxide and 71.7 million pounds of tantalum oxide.
Pilbara Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Ken Brinsden said the resource will fortify Pilgangoora’s position as a lithium supplier.
“This landmark resource upgrade is another clear indication of Pilgangoora’s position as the world’s premier hard-rock lithium asset,” Brinsden said.
“The scale of the endowment is quite remarkable, with the integration of the adjoining Ngungaju resource, combined with highly successful development and drilling programs, taking our Resource inventory well and truly to the next level.
“We are looking forward to completing an updated ore reserve next month that will underpin operations for many decades to come.”
Pilbara Minerals exported 281,440 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrates at $519 per dry tonne from the Pilgangoora project in the 2020-21 financial year.
This was up from 116,256 dry metric tonnes in the previous year.
“Against the backdrop of surging global demand for lithium raw materials, Pilgangoora is incredibly well positioned to play a pivotal role in the accelerating global energy transformation,” Brinsden said.
The company improved its cash gross margin by $58.4 million in the 2020-21 financial year to $46.2 million after operating at a loss in the previous period.
Brinsden is anticipating Pilbara Minerals will ship between 550,000 and 580,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate by June 2022 through offtake agreements and its battery material exchange digital trading and sales platform.