Pilgangoora Sees Stage 2 Green Light with Funding Package

Pilbara Minerals is on track to its Pilgangoora stage 2 expansion thanks to a proposed funding package from two of its key customers.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is weighing the potential of a stage 3 expansion to its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia with two of its key customers now supporting a proposed funding package for stage 2’s expansion.

The funding package is set to comprise a AU$35.5 million offtake prepayment facility from Great Wall Motor Company (HKG:2333) and a AU$50 million equity placement to Ganfeng Lithium (SZSE:002460).

Each company’s contribution satisfies their respective funding commitments for stage 2 and, in combination with the company’s existing cash reserves and future cash flow, would fully fund the expansion. Both companies currently have offtake agreements with Pilbara for product from Pilgangoora.

“We’re out of the blocks early in the New Year with the announcement of a funding package which once completed should ensure that our next major growth step, to 5 [million tonnes per year], is fully-funded,” Pilbara Minerals managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden said in a statement.

“Upon completion of the expansion by the March quarter of 2020, Pilgangoora will be elevated to an annualised production rate of up to 850,000 [tonnes per year] of spodumene concentrate, putting us firmly on track to become one of the world’s major global lithium raw material producers.”

The company is currently ramping up production at the project where stage 1 operations are ongoing, with Pilgangoora having produced approximately 23,500 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate in December 2018. Last month’s results are equivalent to around 85 percent of the plant’s stage 1 design capacity.

While stage 2 would see Pilgangoora’s production grow to 5Mtpa, the possibility of a stage 3 expansion would push that number to “at least” 6.2Mtpa with the potential to reach 7.5Mtpa, according to Brinsden. As such, stage 2 will be engineered and built to accommodate a potential stage 3 expansion.

According to Pilbara, it is unlikely that a stage 3 expansion would be commissioned any earlier than 2021.

Alongside the funding package news from Pilbara came the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with offtake partner POSCO (NYSE:PKX). The MoU proposes a larger joint-venture (JV) chemical conversion facility in South Korea with a 40,000 tonnes per year (tpa) lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) capacity versus the originally planned 30,000 tpa LCE.

While POSCO’s current spodumene concentrate offtake agreement for Pilgangoora sits at 240,000 tpa, the MoU would see that number grow to 315,000 tpa to support the bigger facility.

Pilbara’s stock price jumped 16 percent by the end of ASX trading on Thursday (January 3), closing the day at AU$0.725 per share.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Global News
stones balancing with three smaller ones on one side and one larger one on the other

Experts believe the positive long-term outlook for electric vehicles means lithium demand’s breather could just be temporary.

Lithium prices climbed over 400 percent last year, with other key battery raw materials such as cobalt and nickel also seeing prices rally as demand from the electric vehicle (EV) industry picked up pace.

But by the end of the first quarter, prices started to stabilize as demand took a breather, particularly in China, where the government has imposed lockdown measures to contain a new wave of COVID-19.

“We expect lithium and cobalt prices to peak this year, from dented but still strong demand and supply chain challenges,” Alice Yu of S&P Global Market Intelligence said at a recent webinar.

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Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans

Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans said, “Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain and we think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans: Sustainable Hardrock Lithium Opportunities in Quebec youtu.be


Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) CEO Chris Evans joined the Investing News Network to discuss the company and its Cancet lithium project in Quebec, Canada.

"We listed on the ASX on November 30, 2021," he explained. "We're lithium focused but based in Canada, and we've been pretty successful in the last six months — our share price has done well. I think I've been putting this down to the success factors which we possess as a company, including the fact that we're into lithium at a moment with high demand. Any mining company that's associated with lithium has tended to do well.

“Our assets are in Quebec, a fantastic mining jurisdiction for all sorts of reasons. Also, being listed on the ASX — Australian investors tend to like early stage plays a bit better. They've certainly woken up to the electric vehicle and lithium revolution that's occurring in the world. And it's a pleasure having the assets in Canada.”


Next, Evans got into specifics about the company's flagship project. “The Cancet project is our flagship, in the James Bay region of Quebec. All our projects are hard-rock lithium; that's digging the rocks out of the ground and concentrating the lithium in them. Then it gets converted into the final product, which is lithium carbonate or hydroxide, that then goes into electric vehicle batteries,” he explained.

“Cancet’s had about 5,500 metres of drilling done on it historically, so we know that there's a great deposit of lithium at fantastic grades. It outcrops on the surface, the lithium-containing spodumene from the pegmatite rock, where we have 3.7 percent lithium oxide over a 17 metre interval from the surface at our most successful drill hole. We just completed 2,000 metres of drilling ourselves, increasing our knowledge of the orebody that's there, and also looking for extensions to the orebody. We've got 395 claims, and our drilling and exploration is only over about 15 of the claims. So we've got a lot further to look here and a lot more to develop.”

As for supply location, and the company's relationship with the international market, Evans said, “We think it's fantastic for us, and our shareholders, that we have assets in Quebec. Roughly 50 percent of the world's hard-rock lithium comes from Australia, where it’s mined and concentrated. The problem is that final conversion into lithium carbonate or hydroxide all occurs at the moment in China ... lithium is on the critical minerals list in Canada, the US and Australia, and Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain. We think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Elaborating on the sustainability industry that drives the battery revolution, he said, “(Nearly) all power in Quebec is generated by hydroelectricity and renewable forms of electricity. That’s very important, because the mining and concentration process for lithium products traditionally produces a large carbon footprint, because it's energy intensive. The EU, from 2024, has mandated that all batteries are labeled with the carbon footprint of all the materials that are contained within them. Then, by about 2026, there's specific targets that batteries have to meet in order to be sold in the EU. If you don't have a renewable source of energy to produce your lithium products that go into those batteries, it's going to severely restrict your markets — and that's another bonus for us being in Quebec.”

Evans said that Winsome Resources’ approach is to develop a mine itself, rather than selling or partnering. “We will approach this as if we are going to be developing the Cancet project, and producing lithium ourselves, in four or so years. And I think that'll best serve our shareholders.” With regards to other ways the company could benefit investors, Evans said, “Being listed on the ASX, and having access to a lot of capital, I think there's a great opportunity for us to acquire other projects in Canada. We're about to start our summer exploration. And we're on the lookout for a new project. So I think the good news is really to come.”

Watch the full interview of Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Winsome Resources in order to help investors learn more about the company. Winsome Resources is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Winsome Resources and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

WR1:AU
Lake Resources CEO Stephen Promnitz: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding

Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE,OTCQB:LLKKF) Managing Director Stephen Promnitz says Lake Resources has secured robust financing to scale up lithium production in preparation for the electric vehicle revolution.

Lake Resources has recently established a technology and funding partnership with Lilac Solutions, and the latter has announced $150 Million Series B to scale lithium supply for the electric vehicle era.

Lake Resources: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding www.youtube.com

"Lilac Solutions are actually going to work with us and progressively earn into our flagship Kachi project, and then provide $50 million towards the development of that project. So come the end of October, we should have somewhere around $70 to $80 million in the bank, plus this $50 million commitment from Lilac going forward. And then if we have some additional $75 million options in June next year. Essentially, we can now see a pathway to the entire project being financed," Promnitz said.

Lake Resources and Lilac Solutions signed a partnership agreement wherein Lilac is able to achieve an equity stake in the Kachi project with project funding obligations while providing its leading technology to advance the project.

"There's a real deal here, and now value opportunity. But on top of that, we've de-risked it from the debt side and from the equity side. This project is going to happen, and not only that, we're going to be scaling it up to 50,000 tonnes per annum soon after we get into production. That will make us one of the top five producers in the lithium space."

Watch the full interview of Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz above.

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European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage said, “There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage: Developing the 1st Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Europe youtu.be


European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8) Executive Chairman Tony Sage discussed the company’s Wolfsburg project in Austria, a country with a rich mining history dating back to WWII that maintains its infrastructure.

Wolfsburg continues that tradition, positioned only 45 kilometres from the city that hosts the largest Samsung battery factory.

"It’s quite unique. In Europe, a lot of the lithium mines are at the exploration stage," Sage said. "This mine was built back in the '80s by the Austrian government. So all the work has been done. If we were going to do this project today, we would have to get environmental approval and spend about $100 million — but they did all the work and the licence is in perpetuity.


“We can now access that mine and start mining immediately. In fact, in 2017, we mined it and took out 1,500 tonnes, which is a massive advantage in the lithium industry because we were able to build a pilot plant and put 300 tonnes of the material through the pilot plant, which gave us the results that we were looking for in that it's high-grade product.”

Sage also discussed European Lithium’s goals with the project. “Our aim is to mine it. It's a very simple mining process. We're in the process now of trying to acquire land nearby so we can actually put a conversion plant and a hydroxide plant on it. There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

Sage told the Investing News Network that the government is supportive of its endeavours. “The Austrian government is very keen for us to build hydroxide plants so they can actually entice vehicle companies to build a factory nearby the hydroxide plant. This way, we can have a mine right through to the battery solution for the Austrian government. In the end, all we can do is get the mines up and operating, build the hydroxide plant and see what happens.”

The mine itself is underground. “Underground mining techniques are used all around the world. When they built it, they actually overbuilt — so when we decided to mine back in 2017, it was quite easy for us to find the seam of the orebody and then take the ore out," Sage said.

“We completed a prefeasibility study in 2018. The cost structure then was about US$7,500 per tonne to produce the hydroxide. Right now, the hydroxide price is around US$69,000 a tonne — that’s a massive profit margin that we don’t see as sustainable long term. When we do our definitive feasibility study, we're probably going to use an average price over the life of mine of about US$25,000 — but that's still a huge profit margin. That feasibility study is coming within the next four months, when we’ll be in a good position to partner with someone.”

Watch the full interview of European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by European Lithium in order to help investors learn more about the company. European Lithium is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with European Lithium and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

EUR:AU

Ioneer Ltd is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture with Sibanye Stillwater Limited to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA . Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer …

Ioneer Ltd (“ioneer” or the “Company”) (ASX: INR) is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture (the ” Joint Venture “) with Sibanye Stillwater Limited ( “Sibanye-Stillwater” ) to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA (the “Project” ). Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer has also agreed to provide Sibanye-Stillwater with an option to participate in 50% of the North Basin 1 upon the election of Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute up to an additional US$50 million subject to certain terms and conditions.

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Pegmatite Cluster Mapped at Karonie Doubling Strike Length
Multiple Lithium anomalies at Karonie
Multiple Lithium anomalies at Karonie

Alchemy Resources Limited (ASX: ALY) (“Alchemy” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce it has identified additional outcropping pegmatites at its 100% owned Karonie Gold Project located east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The recent mapping has now identified a pegmatite cluster and has doubled the strike length at the Cherry and Hickory prospects, and has identified multiple outcropping pegmatites at Pecan in the north.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Field work has identified further outcropping pegmatites over the recently discovered lithium in soils anomalies at the 100% owned Karonie Project 110km East of Kalgoorlie.
  • Pegmatite cluster mapped over an initial 7km x 1.5km area.
  • At Cherry and Hickory Prospects, pegmatites now defined over a 1.5km x 2km area, doubling the previous mapped strike extent.
  • At Pecan prospect, outcropping pegmatites have been identified over a strike length of 400m. Outcrops coincide with soil anomalies.
  • Rock-chip assays returned significant pathfinder anomalism with Rubidium grades up to 5880ppm, Tantalum up to 122ppm and Caesium up to 221ppm. The ratio analysis of the multi-element data indicates fractionated and highly evolved Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum (LCT) pegmatites over the entire 7km strike.
  • Large infill soil geochemistry program planned to commence in late May 2022.
  • Regional Soils program commencing concurrently in late May 2022.

Chief Executive Officer Mr James Wilson commented:

“The mapping has now identified a cluster of pegmatites at Karonie. At Hickory and Cherry, we’ve doubled the strike length of mapped pegmatites and at Pecan we’ve discovered multiple pegmatite outcrops across a 1km wide area. We expect the infill soils will zero in on zones which sit under the thin surface cover, and this will help us plan the next steps. The rock-chip assays are all showing very high tenor pathfinder anomalism which plots within the highly evolved and fractionated granite chemistry, telling us that we are exploring in exactly the right spot. Our next steps will be the commencement of infill soils and detailed structural mapping due to start imminently to zero in on target zones for drilling later this year.”

KARONIE PEGMATITE UPDATE

Reconnaissance field mapping at the Cherry-Hickory-Mesquite and Pecan prospects has further extended the known pegmatite occurrences at the Project. Several pegmatite dyke clusters have been identified, indicating the presence of multiple zones which outcrop within the target area. The mineralogy of these bodies appears similar to occurrences identified in earlier zones. Understanding the structural and geochemical controls on these bodies will be a key in defining areas for drill testing. Rock chip results from recent sampling continue to exhibit exceptionally strong pathfinder anomalism with the relevant ratio analysis indicative of evolved and fertile pegmatites with high Tantalum, Rubidium and Caesium results.

Alchemy is preparing field crews to commence infill soil sampling on the priority targets, which is expected to commence in late May 2022.