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Pilbara Minerals' study values Pilgangoora lithium project expansion at A$3.73B

Pilbara Minerals Ltd.'s scoping study for the stage three expansion at the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia delivered "exceptionally positive results."

The stage three project includes increasing the overall plant throughput to 7.5 million tonnes per annum, compared to 5 Mtpa in stage two, at an estimated incremental capital cost of A$225.8 million.

The study estimated a post-tax net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$3.73 billion, the company said March 26.

The life of mine project revenue, excluding tantalite, is estimated at A$16.6 billion, with life of mine average annual EBITDA of A$684 million.

The project will annually produce about 1.2 Mtpa of SC6.0 spodumene concentrate and about 1.1 million pounds of 30% tantalite concentrate over a 15-year mine life.

Following stage three development, the company will have 270,000 to 400,000 tonnes per annum of SC6.0 spodumene concentrate available for deliveries to existing and new customers or for the development of additional chemical conversion facilities.

Previously in March, Pilbara Minerals conditionally exercised an option for a joint venture with POSCO to develop a downstream lithium chemical conversion facility in the Gwangyang Free Economic Zone in South Korea.

The study is based on a JORC-compliant ore reserve estimate of 108.2 million tonnes grading 1.25% lithium oxide, 120 parts per million of tantalum pentoxide and 1.17% ferric oxide.

Following completion of further feasibility studies, stage three construction is expected to start in late second quarter of 2020 with start of commissioning in early second quarter of 2021.