Altura pauses lithium spodumene production due to Cyclone Veronica

Altura Mining completed lockdown procedures at its lithium spodumene production plant in Western Australia on March 23, halting production and evacuating all staff with the exception of a 23-person skeleton crew, the company said on Monday March 25.

The action was taken because of the possible landfall of Tropical Cyclone Veronica, the second powerful weather system to hit Australia’s coast within 48 hours after Cyclone Trevor hit the country’s Northern Territory on Saturday.

Onsite personnel at the mine in Pilgangoora will monitor the situation with a view to restarting production once the cyclone alert status is ended. No specific day was specified for when operations would restart or how much production would be lost this month because of the weather event.

Pilbara Port Authorities also halted vessel-loading operations, suspending the loading of Altura-origin spodumene concentrate into cargo ship TS Delta until the cyclone passed.

Other mining operations and shipments of material could be affected in the region, but no other lithium mine has so far confirmed having to stop activities because of Cyclone Veronica.

Altura’s stage 1 production started at the end of 2018 with nameplate capacity for 220,000 tonnes per year of lithium spodumene. The company is ramping-up production, and this could take as long as three years.