Government stumps up $20m for Pilbara Minerals
Pilbara Minerals have pulled of something of a coup by securing the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) as a significant investor.
The Perth based Lithium developer announced on Tuesday the CEFC was a $20m cornerstone investor in the recently completed A$130 million senior secured bond issue, which was settled last week.
The CEFC was one of several international institutional investors that participated in the bond issue following an extensive due diligence process.
The Pilbara Minerals investment is CEFC’s first in a WA mining project, which is essentially a Government backed vote of confidence in Pilbara Minerals’ 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project near Port Hedland.
The bond issue, together with the successful subsequent A$80 million equity raising announced a fortnight ago, has underwritten the project funding package for the A$234 million development of a Stage 1, 2Mtpa project at Pilgangoora.
With funding in place, Pilbara moved swiftly last week to announce a final investment decision and the go-ahead for major development works. First concentrate shipments are scheduled for Q2 2018.
The Pilgangoora Project is one of the world’s most important new lithium developments and will set Pilbara Minerals up as a key player in the rapidly growing global supply chain for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Pilbara Minerals Managing Director and CEO Ken Brinsden said: “We are delighted to welcome the CEFC as a cornerstone investor as part of our overall funding package for Pilgangoora through our highly successful secured bond issue.”
“The CEFC’s core investment objectives are to catalyse and leverage an increased flow of funds for the commercialisation of Australian-based renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.”
“CEFC’s investment highlights the important role that Australia can play in the supply of lithium raw materials to the rapidly-growing battery market – helping to cement our key position in the global supply chain for renewable energy storage, electric vehicles and other clean energy initiatives.”
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “The CEFC is pleased to be working with Pilbara Minerals on this exciting project. Lithium is an essential part of the clean energy transition, particularly as we develop enhanced battery storage technologies that will allow us to increase the use of renewable energy, both for large-scale and small-scale projects. The lithium concentrate supplies to be produced by this project will help build Australia’s capacity to supply much needed resources for the clean energy technologies that are set to play a vital role in increasing the use of renewables in our future energy mix.”
Pilbara’s success in attracting the CEFC will no doubt see a flood of other cleantech metals developers racing to the finance agency to also try their luck, although projects that rival Pilgangoora in size and scale are few and far between.
Pilbara Minerals (PLS)
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