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Drive to Bypass China in Lithium Refining Grows in Australia

  • Pilbara pilot plant to produce semi-processed battery chemical
  • Part of Canberra’s efforts to challenge China on EV metals
The Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia in July.
The Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia in July.Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg
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Pilbara Minerals Ltd., one of Australia’s biggest lithium producers, plans to build a demonstration plant in Western Australia capable of refining the material that’s key to the booming global battery metals market.

The pilot plant would process Pilbara Minerals’ hard-rock ore into lithium salt near the company’s Pilgangoora Project in Western Australia, in a joint venture with Australia’s Calix Ltd. that uses the latter’s patented “calcination” technology.