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The Pilbara Minerals board has approved a capital investment for the P1000 project to increase lithium production at Pilgangoora mine.

The $560 million investment includes an expanded concentrator plant with increased throughput, as well as supporting infrastructure. Spodumene concentrate production capacity is expected to rise by 320,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).

The Pilgangoora lithium project is owned by Pilbara Minerals and located in WA. It is considered to be one of the largest hard rock lithium deposits in the world.

The project is expected to reach full production by September 2025.

The P1000 project will be executed alongside the ongoing P680 project, which aims to add an additional 100,000tpa capacity to Pilgangoora.

The combination of these two assets is expected to raise spodumene concentrate production from 580,000 tonnes per annum (tap) to 1,000,000tpa.

Pilbara Minerals is understood to be considering the benefits of long-term spodumene offtake agreements and Joint Ventures for the P1000 project.

Pilbara Minerals chief executive officer, Dale Henderson, called the P1000 project an important milestone.

“This expansion step facilitates a major lift in production capacity, capitalising on the substantial scale of this tier-1 hard rock asset,” he said.

“This 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 an existing operating platform to enable a rapid scale-up of production to capitalise on the growing demand for lithium products.

“The P1000 investment case is compelling with a payback from this investment expected to be within a year. This further increase in production capacity will cement Pilbara Minerals’ position as a globally significant supplier of lithium materials products delivering into this rapidly growing market.

“The company has received significant inbound interest for further offtake and downstream partnerships, and we have begun exploring options to maximise the value.”