Pilbara Minerals finalizes spodumene refining project

Australia-based spodumene miner Pilbara Minerals has entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement with technology start-up Calix for the development of a demonstration plant to refine spodumene into midstream lithium salts

Pilbara Minerals said on Monday November 28 that the JV will utilize Calix-patented technology for the demonstration project.

The miner initially announced a scoping study on the potential project earlier this year.

Participating interests in the JV will be Pilbara Minerals (55%) and Calix (45%), the companies said. The demonstration plant would process Pilbara Mineral’s ore into a midstream lithium product near the company’s Pilgangoora Project hard-rock mining site in Western Australia.

A final investment decision on the demonstration plant is to be made in the first half of 2023.

The aim of the JV is to deliver a superior value-added lithium product, enabling lower product costs, reduced carbon energy intensity and a reduction of waste product logistics, the companies said.

Western Australia is a key region for the production of spodumene, and in turn, lithium; at present, the majority of the upstream hard-rock mineral is shipped to China, where most of the global refining capacity is located.

Lithium is a key ingredient in the rechargeable batteries that are leading the energy transition globally.

The companies added that they were in discussions with the Australian government for a A$20 million ($13.4 million) grant. If successful, the technology could be scaled up to commercial production and potentially licensed to third parties, they said.

Spodumene prices have risen to new highs in recent weeks, supported by supply tightness and strong demand from the downstream electric vehicle battery sector.

Other major participants in the lithium value chain recently announced investments to add value to spodumene in Western Australia while western economies aim to diversify and strengthen their supply chains.

Fastmarkets’ fortnightly assessment of the spodumene min 6% Li2O, spot price, cif China was $8,000-8,575 per tonne on Thursday November 24, up by 4.91% from $7,800-8,000 per tonne on November 10. The price was assessed at $2,400-2,600 per tonne at the beginning of the year.

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights in the lithium market by visiting our dedicated lithium page.

What to read next
Spot market premiums for refined nickel products declined sharply in the US following a long period of stagnation. Elsewhere, premiums were stable while Chinese markets re-opened following the Lunar New Year holiday
Japan was where the world’s first lithium-ion battery and hybrid vehicle were made, but the country is aware that its position in the production of both battery materials and battery cells is falling behind its Asian peers, Fastmarkets heard on Tuesday, January 31
Glencore achieved a 40% year-on-year increase in cobalt output during 2022 to a total of 43,800 tonnes, the company said in its annual production report published on Wednesday February 1
A string of of hefty investment announcements in the electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem in the United States, taking advantage of incentives arising from country’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), have raised concerns in Europe about falling behind in the EV market
General Motors (GM) is investing $650 million to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada, the largest known source of lithium in the US and the third largest in the world
Australia-based cobalt and nickel supplier Jervois Global has delayed the start of commercial production of cobalt concentrate at its mine in the US state of Idaho, it said in a quarterly update on Monday January 30
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
Proceed