Why invest in Pilbara Minerals?
Emerging low-cost Australian strategic metals producer
Pilbara Minerals has cemented its position at the forefront of the rapidly emerging lithium industry globally. The Company is developing the world-class Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia, widely regarded as the world’s leading lithium development project. Pilgangoora offers the grade, scale and quality to underpin a low-cost, long-life mining operation with outstanding technical and financial attributes.
A globally significant hard rock lithium resource with scale, quality and grade advantages relative to ASX-listed peers
The Pilgangoora Project hosts a current JORC 2012 Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 156.3 million tonnes grading 1.25% Li2O (spodumene) and 128ppm Ta2O5 (tantalum) containing 1.95 million tonnes of lithium oxide and 44.2 million pounds of Ta2O5, or 4.83 million tonnes of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE), reinforcing its status as the world’s premier lithium development project.
The size and scale of the Pilgangoora resource confirms its credentials as a world-class, long-life, high grade lithium/tantalum project and one of the largest and highest grade lithium resources relative to its ASX-listed peers.
Outstanding project economics demonstrated by DFS
Pilbara Minerals completed a Definitive Feasibility Study for the Pilgangoora Project in September 2016, which confirmed the technical and financial viability of a 2 million tonne per annum mining operation.
The DFS forecast annual production from Pilgangoora of approximately 314,000 tonnes per annum of 6% spodumene concentrates (44,000 tonnes per annum of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent or LCE) and 321,000lbs per annum of tantalite, over an initial mine life of 36 years. The key financial parameters outlined in the DFS include forecast pre-production capital expenditure of $214 million (including mine pre-strip, 2Mtpa Concentrator and all surface infrastructure) and projected annual average EBITDA of A$121 million per annum based on forecast life-of-mine (LOM) pricing, generating a forecast project Net Present Value (NPV10%, post-tax) of A$709 million and IRR of 38.1%.
In addition, Pilbara also completed a Pre-Feasibility Study to assess the option for a future expansion of the Pilganagoora Project to achieve 4Mtpa run-of-mine ore production and processing capacity.
Key results of the PFS on the 4Mtpa expansion option include life-of-mine average annual production of approximately 564,000tpa of 6% spodumene concentrates (79,000tpa of LCE) including 30,000tpa of technical grade 6% spodumene concentrate, and 579,000lbs of tantalite.
The expansion option requires only a modest incremental increase in capital expenditure to A$128 million, and delivers an increase in projected annual average EBITDA to A$245 million and an increase in forecast Net Present Value (NPV10%, post-tax) to A$1.165 billion and Internal Rate of Return of 46.3%.
Pilbara will progress further engineering design on the expansion project, with decisions about future project expansion subject to the progress of further studies and future assessment of market conditions by Pilbara’s Board.
Rapid pathway to financing and production to capitalise on robust market outlook and demand
Pilbara Minerals’ aim is to rapidly advance the Pilgangoora Project towards production to take advantage of the surging demand for high-quality lithium products.
Key permitting milestones were achieved in 2016 with the main Mining Lease for the Pilgangoora Project granted in December 2016 following the signing of a Native Title Agreement and Access deed with the pastoral lease-holders.
Preliminary site works commenced in late 2016, with the key Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract awarded to Australian-owned engineering company RCR Tomlinson in January 2017. Major construction activities at Pilgangoora are scheduled to commence in Q2 2017, with project commissioning targeted for December 2017.
The Company has already signed key product off-take agreements, including a binding cornerstone off-take agreement with General Lithium, a leading Chinese supplier of lithium products, for the supply of 140,000tpa of 6% chemical-grade spodumene concentrate from Q1 2018 for an initial 6-year period, with the option to extend for a further 4 years. This represents over 40% of Pilgangoora’s anticipated initial annual output of ~314,000tpa of concentrate (inclusive of technical grade spodumene), from the Phase 1 project.
An additional innovative run-of-mine off-take agreement was signed with Shandong Ruifu in July 2016. Further off-take is currently under negotiation, with substantial future production expansion capacity available.
Significant potential to enhance project returns through downstream processing to produce battery grade lithium products
The size and quality of the Pilgangoora Project also provides the Company with an exceptional opportunity to pursue growth opportunities in downstream lithium markets.
Pilbara has signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding with General Lithium, a leading Chinese supplier of lithium products and materials to the fast-growing lithium-battery industry in China, to establish a downstream processing joint venture to convert Pilgangoora spodumene into lithium carbonate and/or lithium hydroxide.
General Lithium’s operating expertise, technology and existing plant designs will facilitate the expedited development of a chemical plant to support Pilbara’s participation in downstream chemical markets.
The ability to manufacture high-value battery-grade lithium products through downstream processing has the potential to deliver significant additional value for Pilbara in the years ahead, with global demand for lithium-ion batteries expected to experience unprecedented growth over the coming decades.
Highly experienced Board and management team with strong experience in exploration, mining and corporate management
Pilbara Minerals has a highly credentialed, well-respected Board of Directors and senior management team with experience in building and operating mining projects.