Lithium mine work charging ahead

27 September, 2017

WA’s newest lithium mine, Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora project, is set to tender for final works packages as major construction of the $234 million development gets underway.

Site works at the project, inland from Port Hedland, are now well advanced with the first 60 camp rooms commissioned and a further 240 to be completed by early to mid-October.

Contractor NRW is proceeding with the site bulk civil earthworks package, with all the plant pads, except for the crusher pad, ready for handover to major construction contractor RCR Tomlinson.

With the bulk of goods and services for Stage One now procured, Pilbara is looking to secure the works packages for the bore field network, Great Northern Highway intersection upgrade works and mining operations centre buildings and infrastructure.

These new works are expected to total about $10 million, Pilbara Managing Director Ken Brinsden told BP Digital.

However, he expects that RCR will soon be tendering for “quite a bit of work” as part of its $148m plant construction contract.

The company says it is advancing rapidly to production to take advantage of a “robust” market opportunity to export lithium, which is an indispensable ingredient for rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles.

Pilbara’s two cornerstone supply offtake partners are Chinese companies Ganfeng Lithium and General Lithium.

The company has appointed former senior Fortescue executive Dale Henderson as Project Director, charged with delivery of the balance of Pilgangoora construction, operational readiness and responsibility for ongoing operations.

“Importantly, his commencement also allows us to allocate additional resources to the 5Mtpa expansion program”, which will more than double production of Stage One, Brinsden says.

Pilbara says it aims to ship its first lithium concentrates in the second quarter of next year.

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