Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand

PILBARA Minerals has reported a 49% jump in lithium sales volumes in the September quarter.
Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand Pilbara at 14-month high on signs of improving demand

Pilbara's Pilgangoora mine in the Pilbara

Spodumene concentrate shipments from the Pilgangoora operation near Port Hedland rose to 43,630 dry metric tonnes from 29,312dmt.

The company also sold 25,222 pounds of tantalite concentrate.

Pilgangoora produced 62,404dmt of spodumene, up from 34,484dmt, as processing plant utilisation reached 70-75% from 40% in the June quarter.

Pilbara's strategy sees it moderate production to meet demand, but it said customer demand increased during the September quarter.

The company attributed the improving sentiment partly to the European Green Deal, which has seen the introduction of electric vehicle subsidies.

Pilbara said the UK and Europe are set to become the world's largest EV markets this year, overtaking China.

However, pricing still remained low, with 6% spodumene selling for US$390-405/dmt.

Pilbara lowered unit cash operating costs to $355/dmt, close to its target of $320-350/dmt.

The company's quarter-end cash balance was steady at A$85.7 million, compared to $86.3 million at June 30.

Pilbara successfully refinanced, securing a low-cost US$110 million senior secured debt facility with BNP Paribas and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, allowing repayment of a higher cost $100 million Nordic bond.

A $15 million working capital facility with BNP Paribas remains undrawn.

Earlier this week, Pilbara entered into an agreement with the receivers of Pilgangoora neighbour, Altura Mining, to acquire the Altura lithium operations for $175 million.

The acquisition will be funded by a A$240 million equity raising, which will be supported by AustralianSuper and Resource Capital Fund.

The company will find out if its bid is successful in about five weeks, though it has rights to match any competing proposal.

Shares in Pilbara jumped 4.6% this morning to 45c