On November 28, Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals issued a statement saying that Pilbara and Calix signed a joint venture agreement. The two parties will jointly build a demonstration plant at the Pilgangoora project to produce lithium salt using Calix’s patented calcination technology. Among them, the equity ratios of Pilbara and Calix are 55% and 45% respectively.
According to the statement, the rapid calcination technology developed by Calix is expected to efficiently process low-grade spodumene concentrate and greatly improve the overall recovery rate of lithium, thereby reducing the production cost of lithium.
It is reported that the joint venture plant is expected to invest between 50 million and 70 million Australian dollars (33.43 million to 46.8 million US dollars), and the final investment decision (FID) will be made in the first half of 2023.
Additionally, Pilbara and Calix are negotiating a $20 million grant with the Australian Commonwealth Government, which is expected to be finalized before the FID. If successful in securing government funding, the technology could be scaled up to a commercial scale and potentially licensed to third parties.
According to the data, Pilbara is a lithium company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), and its Pilgangoora project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia produces spodumene concentrate and tantalum concentrate.
In recent years, Pilbara has often held lithium ore auctions, so the company is known as the “wind vane” of lithium mines, and the price of each transaction pulls the sensitive nerves of the market.
Since 2021, Pilbara has completed twelve auctions. From the perspective of previous auctions, except for the seventh auction, the price has fallen, and the rest of the transaction prices have increased month-on-month. The latest auction took place on November 16, 2022. The auction quantity was 5,000 tons, the grade was 5.5%, and the transaction price was US$7,804/ton, a month-on-month increase of 7.57%.