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Pilbara Minerals and Calix secure lithium project grant

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

Pilbara Minerals and Calix have been awarded a AUS$20 million grant under the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) – Manufacturing Translation Stream, towards the development of the Mid-Stream Project at the Pilgangoora Project.

The MMI grant represents a significant step forward in the progression of the Mid-Stream Project, which will be used as part of a proposed joint venture (JV) to be entered between the parties to support the design, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the Mid-Stream Project demonstration plant.

Following execution of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in May 2021 between Pilbara Minerals and Calix, a scoping study has recently been completed by Lycopodium Minerals in conjunction with the Pilbara Minerals and Calix teams. The purpose of the scoping study was to assess the technical viability of developing a demonstration scale chemicals facility at the Pilgangoora Project to produce lithium salts from fines flotation spodumene concentrate produced at the Pilgangoora Project, thereby supporting a potential pathway towards future commercial production of ‘value-added’ lithium products at the Pilgangoora Project and globally.

The lithium-ion battery supply market is rapidly evolving with large scale development occurring through all segments of the supply chain. Several prominent themes are shaping the industry, including product cost (per lithia unit), product quality (purity), carbon energy reduction, and waste management (particularly for the European market).

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. The scoping study supported the technical viability of the Mid-Stream Project at a scoping study level to deploy an innovative calcination technology, owned by Calix, which is proposed to be integrated into a chemical concentration process at the Pilgangoora Project to produce a new end product, with the current focus being a lithium phosphate salt as a key ‘value-added’ product for global distribution.

Ken Brinsden, Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, said:

“Pilbara Minerals is very pleased to be able to access the Australian Government’s MMI grant funding, representing key backing for technology that we believe represents a giant leap forward for the hard-rock lithium raw materials supply chain.

“The Mid-Stream Project is expected to facilitate waste minimisation in key end-use markets, which decarbonises the hard-rock lithium supply chain and creates competitive ‘value-added’ products that can serve global markets directly. We are pleased to be partnered with Calix and their fantastic team, to build-on the technology and ultimately market it around the world.”

Phil Hodgson, Calix’s Managing Director, said:

“We are very grateful for this AUS$20 million grant to assist our lithium salt demonstration project with Pilbara Minerals under the Federal Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Initiative.

“This world-first project aims to develop a low carbon process for lithium salt production into a rapidly growing market that is increasingly demanding more sustainable practices. The Calix and Pilbara Minerals teams are working very well together on this joint development and we look forward to progressing this important technology.”

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Australian mining news Lithium mining news