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Could Pilbara Minerals be the Rio Tinto of the Lithium business ?

If Lithium is the new iron ore for W.A, then Pilbara Minerals are potentially the new Rio Tinto of the Lithium business. 

The company is already sitting on arguably the largest Lithium hard rock resource in the world in the Pilbara and they have just dramatically expanded their footprint in the region.

They announced this week that they would pay up to $8m to Dakota Minerals to pick up their neighboring Lynas Find lithium project that will increase Pilbara’s land holdings around their giant Pilgangoora project from 32 square kilometres to 300 square kilometres.

The Pilgangoora district is rapidly emerging as one of the world’s most important new sources of lithium and ASX listed Pilbara Minerals are well and truly there on the ground floor.

Earlier this week, Dakota announced a maiden indicated and inferred mineral resource at Lynas Find of 7.3M tonnes at 1.25% lithium oxide. While this is a fraction of Pilbara’s indicated and inferred resource of 128.6M tonnes at 1.22% lithium oxide, the location of Dakota’s ground and the nature of the Lynas Find resource make the deal a coup for Pilbara Minerals.

Pilbara’s managing director and CEO, Ken Brinsden, said “The acquisition of the Lynas Find project secures the eastern and northern extensions of the same prolific pegmatite swarm that hosts the key lithium-tantalum deposits at Pilgangoora.

“The acquisition provides the potential for new high-grade satellite ore feed to the central processing plant at Pilgangoora. Importantly, these additional tonnes are located close to the surface and are at an attractive average grade which would enhance our overall resource and future reserve inventory.”

“The Dakota tenement package also contains numerous prospective new areas for lithium exploration, helping to strengthen our longer term growth pipeline.”

Pilbara will outlay $4 million for the core Lynas Find project, with an additional $1 million payable on upon the grant of an extension to one of the permits. They will also pay $750,000 in cash or shares for each of four exploration permit applications, upon their grant and transfer to Pilbara in the next year.

The deal follows a strategic boundary cooperation agreement signed recently with Pilbara’s other neighbor, Altura Minerals, and locks in Pilbara’s dominant position in the Pilgangoora district.

A feasibility study released last month by Pilbara showed its Pilgangoora project could generate a stunning financial return of $4.22 billion before tax, depreciation and amortisation over the life of the mine, which could extend out to 36 years.

With the Dakota Minerals resource still open at depth and just 500m away from Pilbara’s Monster deposit, it will be very interesting to see just how much Pilbara can grow this resource in a region that is littered with Lithium mineralization. 

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Share Price

Closing price for the last 90 trading days
Source: Morningstar

BN30 Index

Index = 100 as of 4 Jan 2016
Source: Morningstar

Total Shareholder Return as at 30/11/18

1 year TSR5 year TSR
370thBuru Energy-11%-29%
441stPilbara Minerals-20%138%
624thMatsa Resources-48%-13%
664thTriangle Energy Global-54%-22%
741 WA (and selected non WA) listed companies ranked by 1 year TSR relative to other companies with similar revenue
Source: Morningstar

Share Transactions

19/10/18
$70k Bought
19/04/18
$900k Bought
19/04/18
$900k Other
Total value as at the date of the transaction
Source: Morningstar

Revenue

55th↑Pilbara Minerals$15.3m
56th↑Triangle Energy Global$13.8m
58th↑Buru Energy$12.7m
60th↑Matsa Resources$11.7m
509 listed resources companies ranked by revenue.
Source: Morningstar

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