18/03/2019 - 10:45

Pilbara Minerals enters into South Korean JV

18/03/2019 - 10:45

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Pilbara Minerals has exercised an option to enter into a joint venture with steelmaker Posco to develop a lithium processing facility in South Korea.

Pilbara Minerals enters into South Korean JV
Ken Brisden says the company’s relationship with Posco had gone from strength to strength.

Pilbara Minerals has exercised an option to enter into a joint venture with steelmaker Posco to develop a lithium processing facility in South Korea.

In a statement, Pilbara Minerals said it would have up to 30 per cent participation in the facility, which is expected to have a capacity of up to 40,000 kilotonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The company said lithium hydroxide, which is a crucial component in making batteries, would be produced at the facility using Posco's patented PosLX purification process.

The lithium hydroxide will be processed from spodumene out of Pilbara Mineral’s Pilgangoora project in the Pilbara.

Pilbara Minerals said it will make a final investment decision on the processing facility in May. 

Pilbara Minerals has been undertaking technical due diligence to assess the plant development since the last quarter of 2018.

The joint venture expects to complete construction of the plant in Gwangyang Bay by late 2020.

Pilbara Minerals managing director Ken Brisden said the company’s relationship with Posco had gone from strength to strength.

“The significant investment by Posco into their PosLX technology has paid off and they have proven their ability to produce an industry leading, battery-ready lithium product through their innovative lithium purification process,” he said.

“For Pilbara Minerals to have secured a strong and technically capable partner like Posco is no mean feat and gives us an exciting opportunity to partner with them to enter the battery grade and cathode material product supply market and become a fully vertically integrated global lithium raw materials company.

“The rapid growth in lithium chemicals consumption in South Korea cannot be underestimated and we believe this partnership positions Pilbara Minerals at the forefront of this emerging market.”

In January, Pilbara Minerals said it had an agreement to sell around 240,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate a year to Posco.

In August 2018, the company released a definitive feasibility study for the planned $231 million stage-two expansion at its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project.

Shares in Pilbara Minerals were up 0.7 per cent to trade at 72 cents each at 1.20pm AEDT.

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