If the results of the scoping study - which will run until late 2021 - are positive, the two companies will set up a joint venture to develop a demonstration plant to produce concentrate lithium salt from the miner’s Pilgangoora project, it said.

The proposed demonstration plant will likely involve the processing of fine-particle, lower-grade spodumene concentrate from the project to creating a low-carbon, concentrated lithium salt that could be further refined into lithium battery raw materials or potentially used as a direct feedstock for the production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode, it said.

The spodumene supply chain is ripe for innovation, with the industry continuing to move through a rapid growth phase while downstream sectors look to lower the carbon footprint of their end-products, Ken Brinsden, Pilbara Minerals’ managing director and chief executive officer, said.

“We look forward to working with Pilbara Minerals on this exciting project for the hard-rock lithium industry, and also other mining and processing companies in other minerals to improve their industrial processes, reduce costs and increase their sustainability,” Phil Hodgson, managing director of Calix, said.