May 17, 2020

Pilbara Minerals awards major Pilgangoora contract to MACA ltd

Australia
mining
Dale Benton
2 min
Pilbara Minerals Limited, the Australian lithium developer, has announced that it has awarded an open pit mining contract for the development of its 100...

Pilbara Minerals Limited, the Australian lithium developer, has announced that it has awarded an open pit mining contract for the development of its 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia to the leading integrated mining services contractor MACA Limited, through its subsidiary MACA Mining Pty Ltd. 

The initial contract will see mining services for two years, plus three 1-year options for Pilbara Minerals to extend.

The contract includes the provision of drill & blast, load & haul services and is based on a mining rate of approximately 8Mtpa for the production of 2Mtpa of ore.

Mobilisation and establishment on site will commence shortly, with pre-stripping of the main Pilgangoora deposit expected to commence in November 2017. 

Throughout the rest of 2017 and into the New Year, mining activities will progressively ramp-up as the company targets the commencement of shipments of spodumene concentrate to its customer base in China during the second quarter of 2018. 

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MACA is an integrated mining services contractor with operations spanning Australia and South America. Key current open pit mining contracts in Western Australia include Ramelius Resources’ Mount Magnet gold mine, Regis Resources’ Rosemont, Garden Well and Moolart Well operations and Atlas Iron’s Abydos DSO Project. 

Pilbara Minerals Managing Director, Ken Brinsden said the award of the open pit mining contract was a key milestone for the Pilgangoora Project, as site-based activities continued to ramp-up on several fronts. 

“The site is already a hive of activity, and this will only continue to increase in the coming weeks following the award of this pivotal contract as the MACA mining team begin to mobilise to site,” he said. 

“MACA has vast experience working in the Pilbara region and they are a perfect fit with our organisation. This contract will employ around 70 personnel and will require the mobilisation of an extensive mining fleet comprising two hydraulic excavators, seven large capacity haulage trucks, drill rigs and numerous items of support equipment. 

“We are looking forward to working closely with MACA over the coming years in the execution of this key contract and growing the subcontract and work opportunities for the Njamal people at the Pilgangoora Project.

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

BritishLithium
mining
Lithium
Sustainability
3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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