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  • Pilbara Minerals (PLS) is set to increase spodumene production at its Pilgangoora operation to 680,000 dry metric tonnes per year after making a final investment decision
  • The ASX 200 company will invest nearly $300 million in constructing a primary rejection circuit and crushing and ore sorting facility to increase production by 100,000 tonnes
  • Pilbara Minerals also expects to achieve a significant production increase for the June quarter to take total FY22 production to between 372 and 377,000 dmt of spodumene
  • The lithium producer anticipates it will ship between 127,000 and 132,000 dmt for the June quarter which is more than double the shipments in the March quarter
  • PLS shares are up 0.63 per cent to trade at $2.38 at 11:58 am AEST

Pilbara Minerals (PLS) has delivered an update regarding production at its Pilgangoora project in Western Australia.

The Pilgangoora Operation is estimated to produce between 123,000 and 127,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene concentrate for the June quarter which is a significant increase from the 81,431 dmt produced in the March quarter.

As a result, total production for the 2022 financial year is expected to be between 373,000 and 377,000 dmt, which is at the upper end of PLS’ previous guidance range of 340,000 to 380,000 dmt.

In terms of shipments, the company expects to ship 127,000 to 132,000 dmt for the June quarter which is more than double the 58,383 dmt shipments in the March quarter.

Pilbara Minerals anticipates annual sales for FY22 of 355,000 to 360,000 dmt. Again, this marks a notable increase from the 281,440 dmt sold over FY21.

In addition to this news, the ASX 200 company has reached a final investment decision (FID) for the Pilgangoora project.

As such, Pilbara Minerals will invest in the Pilgan plant which is expected to deliver a 100,000 tonnes per annum increase in average annual life of mine (LOM) spodumene concentrate production.

Ultimately, this would increase the annual production run rate of the Pilgangoora operation from 580,000 dmt to between 640,000 to 680,000 dmt from the December 2023 quarter.

The production increase is expected to require a total investment of $297.5 million which includes $50 million of pre-investment capital towards future expansions of up to one million tonnes of spodumene concentrate per annum.

The funds will go towards constructing a primary rejection heavy media separation circuit and an integrated crushing and ore sorting facility (together, the P680 Project).

This move aligns with the lithium producer’s strategy to gradually increase production at Pilgangoora in line with demand from customers and the lithium market.

Incoming Managing Director and CEO Dale Henderson said this marks an “exciting” milestone for Pilbara Minerals.

“It reinforces the exceptional scale and quality of our Pilgangoora project, which is one of the few hard rock lithium production operations globally that has both the resource size and existing operating platform to enable a rapid scale-up of production to meet our customers’ long-term requirements,” Mr Henderson said.

“Following the board’s FID, we are now able to commence construction of the P680 project in the coming months and expect commissioning of the primary rejection facility during the second half of next year with the crushing and ore sorting facility to follow shortly thereafter.”

PLS shares were down 0.63 per cent to trade at $2.38 at 11:58 am AEST.

PLS by the numbers
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