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.
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.