World’s Largest Lithium Mine Is In Australia

The world’s largest hard-rock lithium mine is the Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora Mine located in Western Australia. Only a few years in the past, folks have been discussing the shortage of lithium (you don’t see a lot round, when you ain’t in search of it.) Then the foremost concern was that lithium was primarily being sourced from the brine lakes of Chile, placing the native atmosphere and populace in danger.

Quick ahead to 2023 when a lot of the world’s lithium comes from Australia, which has bountiful reserves of onerous rock spodumene which will be mined with world class ESG requirements. Although, we nonetheless find yourself with massive holes within the floor.

“Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing refers to a set of requirements for an organization’s behaviour utilized by socially aware traders to display screen potential investments,” Investopedia writes. “Environmental standards take into account how an organization safeguards the atmosphere, together with company insurance policies addressing local weather change, for instance. Social standards look at the way it manages relationships with workers, suppliers, prospects, and the communities the place it operates. Governance offers with an organization’s management, govt pay, audits, inside controls, and shareholder rights.”

Pilbara Minerals Managing Director and CEO Dale Henderson tells us: “The corporate not too long ago accomplished its monetary yr 2023 drilling program, with the findings bumping the mineral useful resource by 109,000 tonnes, or a 36 per cent improve, to the whole measured useful resource. A complete of 82 per cent of the mineral useful resource is taken into account measured and indicated.

“This vital useful resource improve reinforces our 100 per cent owned Pilgangoora operation as one of many largest onerous rock lithium deposits globally. The upgraded mineral useful resource is according to our technique to develop our working base and due to this fact maximise worth by attaining the total potential from our world class operation.”

Mr Henderson described the direct exploration value of solely 13 cents per tonne of further useful resource as an impressive end result.

Pilbara Minerals is transferring up the worth chain to mid-stream lithium refining, final week asserting a three way partnership with Calix to discover the opportunity of producing lithium phosphate. “The fabric will be produced by heating a wide range of iron and lithium salts with phosphates or phosphoric acid.”

Calix declares that “Mars is for quitters” because it urgently creates nice companies to resolve world issues. Sorry, Elon. The three way partnership plans to construct an indication plant on the Pilgangoora mine.

The demonstration plant will use Calix’s patented electrical calcination expertise and is supported by $20m in Australian authorities funding introduced below the Trendy Manufacturing Initiative.

Calix CEO & Managing Director Phil Hodgson mentioned: “We’re delighted that the Challenge has handed the Remaining Funding Choice milestone, and we thank the Australian Authorities for his or her help.

“Collectively, we sit up for demonstrating the potential of our electrical calcination expertise to dramatically cut back the carbon footprint of Australian lithium. The success of the three way partnership may also showcase the chance of mixing Australian mineral and renewable assets with progressive Australian expertise to allow the dependable and sustainable provide of value-added essential minerals to the world.”

The proposed mid-stream refining plant will probably be powered by renewable power and will probably be located on the mine web site, lowering logistics value. It’s anticipated to have a full manufacturing capability of greater than 3,000 tonnes per yr of concentrated lithium-phosphate salt product from a feedstock of round 27,000 tonnes per yr of spodumene — together with lower-grade effective spodumene focus.

The demonstration plant will present that: “Electrification of the mid-stream course of, together with spodumene calcining, can allow the usage of as much as 100% renewably sourced energy and ship an enormous discount in carbon emission depth of the lithium product.

“Decrease capital and working prices will be achieved with Calix’s electrical calciner in contrast with typical calcining processes. A lithium wealthy product produced on the mine web site could allow extra worth to be captured onshore on the mineral useful resource.

“Pilbara’s Henderson expects that additional exploration this quarter will reveal an up to date ore reserve with lithium assets to underpin operations for a few years to return, and future growth of manufacturing capability.

“In a report ready for The Affiliation of mining and exploration corporations, Future Good Methods asserts that “The lithium business will quickly reposition from a second or third tier ore and metallic processor, to a primary tier, strategically essential business central to the world’s economic system, holding that place for no less than the subsequent 20 years.”

Pilbara Minerals produced 377,900 tonnes each year (tpa) of spodumene manufacturing within the 2022 monetary yr, and 620,00 tpa in FY 2023. The intention for the approaching yr is 680,000 tonnes. FY 2022 generated $1.2 billion in income, FY 2023 elevated this to $4 billion. Pilbara’s income was helped by the 87% improve within the value of lithium to $US 4449 per tonne. “Pilgangoora is predicted to attain an annual nameplate manufacturing run fee of 1Mtpa within the March quarter of 2025.”

Australia is the fourth largest mining nation on the planet, behind China, the US, and Russia. Mining contributed $502 billion to the Australian economic system in 2022. Australia’s miners are slowly transferring their minerals up the worth chain to benefit from the demand for battery uncooked supplies.

Based on The Guardian, the whole worth of thermal coal exports this monetary yr is predicted to succeed in $65 billion. However 2027–2028 it’s anticipated to be decreased by 70% whereas lithium exports are set to triple. Each ending up at about $19 billion per yr by 2028.

Metallurgic coal exports are anticipated to halve, incomes $72 billion within the final monetary yr after which all the way down to $30 billion by 2028, primarily based on information from the Assets and Vitality Quarterly report of the Australian authorities’s chief economist.

For Australian miners, transferring upstream within the refining of battery uncooked supplies is inspired, to offset the long run lack of exports of fossil fuels. The discount from the above figures can be a lack of over $60 billion price of coal exports. I might count on to see increasingly more miners doing this because the rEVolution picks up tempo. Certainly, the Australian economic system and our prosperous life-style depend upon it.

Within the phrases of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, “Lithium has a rare capability, we have to not simply dig it up.” That’s what he mentioned on the Nationwide Press Membership in February.

“I need to be sure we use the lithium and nickel and different merchandise that we’ve to make batteries right here. That’s a part of the imaginative and prescient of defending our nationwide economic system going ahead. I believe we ought to be making photo voltaic panels right here. I believe we ought to be making so many extra issues right here with a purpose to shield our nationwide sovereignty.”


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