Pilbara Minerals has signed a non-binding MoU with Polaris Shipping to commence preliminary discussions with Polaris and LG Chem regarding a potential joint venture for a downstream lithium chemical conversion facility servicing South Korea’s rapidly growing lithium-ion battery industry.
Polaris Shipping recently also signed an MoU with the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (SDIA) in support of the Lithium Korea chemicals development. SDIA is the lead government agency for the Saemangeum Industrial Complex, the proposed location of the downstream lithium chemicals facility.
While discussions are at an early stage, Pilbara looks forward to the opportunity of continuing discussions with the two parties, which may lead to commercial terms being agreed and a formal joint venture being established for the downstream project.
Pilbara Minerals’ managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden said the MoU presented an opportunity for Pilbara’s participation in one of the world’s most exciting and fastest growing markets for lithium raw materials outside of China.
“South Korea is a major global economic and industrial power with a very large and rapidly growing high-technology industrial complex and automotive industry. Discussions like these present an opportunity to work alongside two of South Korea’s leading conglomerates to participate in the development of a world-leading downstream lithium chemicals facility servicing the rapidly growing lithium-ion battery industry in South Korea.
“This is consistent with our broader objective as a company to participate in downstream chemical facilities where this makes sense for us as an upstream supplier of spodumene concentrates, and to diversify our global sales arrangements.
“Given the scale of the existing resource and reserve at Pilgangoora, and the potential to continue to grow it with ongoing drilling, we have plenty of capacity to support both our existing customers in China and new customers elsewhere. It’s fair to say that Korean lithium raw material demand is now well and truly on the radar,” he added.
Pilbara Minerals is a mining and exploration company listed on the ASX, specialising in the exploration and development of the specialty metals lithium and tantalum. Pilbara owns the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia, which is among the largest spodumene projects in the world. Pilgangoora is also one of the world’s largest pegmatite hosted tantalite resources and Pilbara proposes to produce Tantalite as a by-product of its spodumene production