Further to Pilbara Minerals Limited’s (ASX: PLS) (Pilbara Minerals or the Company) announcement dated 1 June 2022, Pilbara Minerals and Calix (ASX: CXL) (Calix) (or the Parties) are pleased to announce they have executed agreements for the formation of an unincorporated joint venture to potentially develop and operate a demonstration plant (Demonstration Plant), as well as for the formation of an incorporated joint venture for the potential future commercialisation of the Mid-Stream process (Joint Venture or JV).

The formalisation of the JV is an important milestone in the progression of the Mid-Stream Demonstration Plant Project. The Project aims to demonstrate a superior value-added lithium product to the existing industry supply chain, while also potentially delivering a significant reduction in carbon intensity, with potential industry benefits including:

·        Product cost – the flash calcination technology developed by Calix has the potential to treat very fine spodumene concentrate at lower lithia grades and materially improve overall lithia recovery, thereby enabling a lower cost per lithia unit.

·        Carbon intensity reduction – substantial carbon emission reduction through the electrification of the Mid-Stream process, including spodumene calcining, enabling the potential to use up to 100% renewable sourced power.

·        Waste reduction/handing – rationalisation of the carbon footprint via reduced waste movement across transport and logistics supply chains from a more lithium-dense, and near zero-waste final product.

Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, Dale Henderson, said: “It’s a great privilege to enter this JV partnership with Calix. The Mid-stream project has the potential to be a game changer for our industry. If successful, we will be able to deliver a superior chemical intermediary product to market compared to spodumene concentrate. This intermediate product offers a higher concentration in lithium and less impurities whilst being produced through a new process that reduces CO2 emissions compared to the traditional process route for hard rock spodumene chemical conversion.

This is world-first Australian technology, being developed by two great Australian companies on Australian soil, with the support of the Australian Government – this is an exceptional opportunity for all of us”

Calix Managing Director and CEO, Phil Hodgson said: “Calix is delighted to formally announce our joint venture agreement with Pilbara Minerals for the development of a sustainable, high value mid-stream lithium product. Calix is focused on decarbonising our essential industries, utilising our core technology’s ability to electrify industrial processing, and minimise the waste and CO2 footprint of minerals. We are excited to join forces with Pilbara Minerals and formalise our close working relationship built over the past 18 months. We will apply our combined capabilities to generate a more sustainable and valuable Australian lithium product.”

To support a Final Investment Decision (FID) in relation to the development of the Demonstration Plant, which is now targeted by the June Quarter 2023, the parties have continued to progress engineering design work and feasibility studies for the Demonstration Plant and have commenced a market engagement program following generation of market samples (lithium salt product) via a pilot test work programme completed in October. This work will continue under the Joint Venture and will further support the final design of the Demonstration Plant leading up to the FID to proceed with its development.

The Parties continue to liaise with the Australian Government to finalise the grant agreement for the $20M Modern Manufacturing Initiative Grant awarded to the Mid-Stream Project (refer ASX announcement dated 17 May 2022). It is expected this grant agreement will be finalised before FID.