Pilbara Minerals, with its project partner Calix, has been awarded a $20 million grant from the Australian Government under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to support the further development and demonstration of the proposed Mid-Stream Project at Pilgangoora.
The funds will be used as part of a proposed joint venture to be entered between the parties to support the design, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the project’s demonstration plant.
A scoping study recently completed by Lycopodium Minerals, in conjunction with the Pilbara Minerals and Calix teams, assessed the technical viability of developing a demonstration scale chemicals facility to produce lithium salts from fines flotation spodumene concentrate produced at the Pilgangoora Project.
The objective of the Mid-Stream Project is to deliver a superior value-added lithium raw material that outperforms across the key metrics of product cost, quality, carbon energy reduction and waste reduction/handling. Works undertaken to date have explored alternative solutions to achieve these aims, including reviewing and testing alternate process paths, equipment selection and end product types.
Pilbara Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Ken Brinsden said the MMI grant funding represented key backing for technology that represents a giant leap forward for the hard-rock lithium raw materials supply chain.
“We are pleased to be partnered with Calix and their fantastic team to build on the technology and ultimately market the product around the world,” he said.
Calix managing director Phil Hodgson said the world-first project aimed to develop a low carbon process for lithium salt production into a rapidly growing market that is increasingly demanding more sustainable practices.
The parties are targeting to finalise and execute the formal Joint Venture Agreement by early Q3 2022, with a final investment decision on the project to be decided late 2022 or early 2023.