Pilbara Minerals Signs 5-Year Offtake Agreement with Tianyi Lithium

Australian lithium miner Pilbara Minerals (PLS) announced that the company has signed a five-year offtake agreement with China's Yibin Tianyi Lithium Industry Co for its Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia.

Pilbara Minerals is an Australian lithium-tantalum producer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and considered within the top 200 companies in Australia. Through the development of its 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project (Pilgangoora project), PLS is set to become one of the biggest lithium raw materials producers in the world.

The Pilgangoora project is located in Western Australia's Pilbara region and is considered one of the largest hard-rock lithium-tantalum deposits globally. The significant scale and outstanding quality of the Pilgangoora project have seen Pilbara Minerals progress it from the first drill hole to production in under four years.

Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project image

The company said that starting from 2021, under the offtake agreement, the Pilgangoora project in Western Australia will increase the concentrate delivered to Tianyi Lithium to 75,000 tons per year, with a plan of 60,000 tons in 2020. PLS shares rose 10.3% at midday on Wednesday, and the broader market was up 3.5%.

This month, Yibin Tianyi has already taken an initial shipment of 20,000 tonnes. The companies are targeting a second shipment between April and May, with a regular delivery schedule to be maintained thereafter.

PLS added that the short-term demand for lithium metal may ease, and end-use demand is expected to remain weak due to coronavirus. Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Australian lithium miners have said that the price of this battery metal may continue to weaken this year due to the slowing demand for electric vehicle sales.

Pilbara Minerals image

Tianyi Lithium is currently constructing a lithium chemical plant in China, which is also an important part of the strategic deployment of China’s Ningde Times New Energy Technology (CATL). CATL is the world's largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and a major shareholder of Pilbara Minerals. CATL became the world's largest vehicle battery manufacturer in the 7th year after its establishment.

Yibin Tianyi is a key lithium chemical supplier to our largest shareholder CATL, with the offtake agreement, the new partnership will further integrate Pilbara Minerals within the supply chain of the world’s largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer. PLS also has not experienced any material impact to its Pilgangoora operations as a result of the coronavirus situation, however, the company expects demand to soften due to the pandemic. Tianyi Lithium also acquired a 12% stake in another Australian lithium mining company AVZ Minerals in January this year.