Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 2018

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REGIONAL NEWS - AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA 24 E&MJ • DECEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com Developers Celebrate Pilgangoora Achievements at Official Opening Pilbara Minerals recently celebrated a major milestone with the official open - ing of the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project by Western Australia's Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Hon. Bill John- ston MLA. The opening ceremony, which was held on site approximately 120 ki- lometers (km) south of Port Hedland in Western Australia, was also attended by the federal minister for environment and member for Durack, the Hon. Melissa Price, member of parliament; Traditional Owners, the Njamal people; project and offtake partners; and employees. The official opening comes a little more than four years to the day since Pilbara Minerals' first drill hole, which was followed by an intense program of resource drilling, feasibility studies, ap- provals, financing and construction of the operation, with first shipment of product recently achieved in October. Stage 1 of the Pilgangoora project comprises a 2-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) mining and processing operation to deliver life-of-mine (LOM) production of 330,000 mt/y of 6% spodumene concen- trate (lithium) and 300,000 Ib per year of tantalite concentrate (tantalum). During the construction phase, the Pilgangoora project's workforce peaked at more than 800 people, with its current operational workforce now approximately 200 people. With first concentrates produced from Stage 1 in June and the first product shipment leaving Port Hedland on Octo- ber 2, a second shipment was expected to follow shortly thereafter. Both product shipments exceeded customer specifi- cation requirements, which was an out- standing result considering the commis- sioning and early ramp up phase of the plant, the company said. Given the Pilgangoora Project's scale, demonstrated product quality and ex- pected low-cost of operations, the Pilbara Minerals' Board recently resolved to pro- gress the Stage 2 expansion to 5 mil- lion mt/y, which will grow spodumene concentrate production to more than 800,000 mt/y. Pilbara Minerals Managing Director and CEO Ken Brinsden, said the official opening provided an important oppor- tunity to acknowledge the many people who had contributed to Pilbara Minerals' success. "This is a very proud day for Pilbara Minerals, and I would like to pay tribute to everyone who has helped us through our journey from explorer to producer," he said. "Every milestone achieved from exploration through to production and first shipment since we completed our first drill hole back in November 2014 is a testament to our great people and project partners." All of the Pilgangoora Project's pro- duction is underpinned by binding off- take agreements with General Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium, POSCO and Great Wall Motor Co. Rio Tinto to Develop Koodaideri as Most Technologically Advanced Rio Tinto has approved a $2.6 billion in- vestment in the Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia, which will allow it to develop its most technologically ad- vanced mine. Koodaideri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto's world- class iron ore business in the Pilbara, in- corporating a processing plant and infra- structure, including a 166-kilometer rail line connecting the mine to the existing network. Construction will start next year with first production expected in late 2021. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 million metric tons (mt), underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio Tinto's flagship iron ore product. "Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto," Rio Tinto Chief Executive J.S. Jacques said. "It will be the most tech- nologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of au- tomation and the use of data to enhance safety and productivity." Employees, members of the Njamal people, along with other dignitaties celebrate the official start of the Pilgangoora project (left). Minister for Mines and Petroleum the Hon. Bill Johnston helps open the mine alongside Pilbara Minerals Chairman Tony Kiernan. (Photo: Pilbara Minerals)

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