Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) - CEO and MD, Ken Brinsden
CEO and MD, Ken Brinsden
Source: Pilbara Minerals
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  • Pilbara Minerals (PLS) and fellow materials stock Calix (CXL) have completed a scoping study for a proposed lithium chemicals plant at the Pilgangoora Operation in WA
  • The companies teamed up last year to assess the use of Calix’s calcination tech to create a lithium salt product that could add value to the current lithium supply chain
  • Positively, the scoping study confirms the viability to produce a new end-product using lithium phosphate salt from spodumene concentrate produced at Pilgangoora
  • Pilbara Minerals and Calix will now negotiate a joint venture and undertake further studies before reaching a final investment decision
  • At this stage, the pair are targeting construction of the demo plant to commence in the second quarter of 2023
  • PLS shares are up 0.93 per cent to trade at $3.24 and Calix shares are up 2.27 per cent with shares trading at $7.66

Pilbara Minerals (PLS) has completed a scoping study as part of its mid-stream value-added lithium growth strategy.

Lycopodium Minerals (LYL) undertook the study after being engaged by PLS and ASX-listed materials stock Calix (CXL).

Pilbara and Calix signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last year to develop a lithium chemicals refinery at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora Operation in WA.

As part of the deal, the companies would complete a scoping study to assess a new refining process using Calix’s unique calcination technology to potentially create a concentrated lithium salt product from fines-flotation spodumene concentrate produced at Pilgangoora.

The product is intended to supply the ‘rapidly evolving’ lithium battery market with a lithium raw material that outperforms across the key metrics of cost, quality, carbon energy reduction and waste reduction.

Positively, the study has confirmed the technical viability of the Mid-Stream project to deploy the calcination technology and integrated chemical concentration process at Pilgangoora to produce a new end-product using lithium phosphate salt as the preferred product after it performed better than other alternatives during testwork.

Flowsheet testwork to-date demonstrated over a 90 per cent lithium recovery to a final high-purity lithium phosphate salt product.

The scoping study also outlined an optimised value engineering scenario for the processing of about 27,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of fine, lower-grade spodumene concentrate to produce more than 3000 tpa of high-purity lithium phosphate salt.

Further engineering studies will include this scenario as a base-case for the proposed demonstration plant which is expected to require between $50 and $70 million in capital development costs.

Now the scoping study is complete, Pilbara Minerals and Calix will negotiate and form a joint venture to undertake further studies and assess costs. This will allow the pair to reach a final investment decision which is hoped to be made by the end of this year.

Then, the companies are planning to begin constructing the plant in the second quarter of 2023 and complete it by the first quarter of 2024.

PLS shares were up 0.93 per cent to trade at $3.24 and Calix shares were up 2.27 per cent with shares trading at $7.66 at 12:26 pm AEDT.

PLS by the numbers
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