(Bloomberg) -- Pilbara Minerals Ltd., one of Australia’s top lithium miners, said it will nearly double production by late 2025 to meet soaring demand for the key electric-vehicle battery metal.
The Perth-based company will spend A$560 million ($375 million) expanding its processing plant in Western Australia to produce 1 million tons of spodumene concentrate a year, up from 580,000 tons now. That would be enough to produce about 15 million EVs a year, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Demand for lithium is set grow fourfold by the end of the decade to meet automakers’ ambitious electrification goals, according to Benchmark Minerals Intelligence. Pilbara Minerals is one of the biggest producers in a country that is the world’s top lithium exporter.
The company has “begun exploring” offtake agreements for the additional lithium, as well as partnerships that would include downstream refining of lithium chemicals, it said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. It has received “significant inbound interest,” it added.
“This expansion step facilitates a major lift in production capacity, capitalizing on the substantial scale of this tier-1 hard-rock asset which underpins a ~25 year mine life at this new, expanded production level,” Managing Director Dale Henderson said in the statement.
Lithium was one of the top performing commodities last year, maintaining record pricing as other metals fell from earlier highs. Still, in recent months prices have plunged, pushing down company valuations and opening the door to potential acquisitions in a sector still dominated by junior and mid-sized players.
US-based Albemarle Corp., the world’s biggest lithium producer, this week had a takeover bid rejected by Australian lithium producer Liontown Resources Ltd.
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