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Australia’s newest lithium producer, Altura Mining, has farewelled its first shipment of the highly sought-after battery metal from Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Around 5,000 dry tonnes of spodumene concentrate from the Altura mine was loaded onto the vessel “MV Clipper Tenacious” at Port Hedland.

The shipment is now headed to China, where it will be picked up by lithium and battery materials processor Lionergy China — Altura’s off-take partner.

Spodumene is the main lithium bearing mineral mined from most hard rock lithium mines around the world.

Lionergy previously inked a deal with Altura (ASX:AJM) to secure 100,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate each year for at least five years.

While it is unknown exactly what price the first lithium shipment will fetch, Altura’s deal with Lionergy stipulates a floor price of $US550 ($777) per tonne and a cap of $US950 per tonne.

The prices are agreed between Altura and its off-take partners.

“We are now producing and exporting lithium concentrate that will become part of the lithium-ion battery revolution,” boss James Brown said.

The first spodumene concentrate being loaded onto the ship. Pic: Altura Mining.
The first spodumene concentrate being loaded onto the ship. Pic: Altura Mining.

“A little bit of the Pilbara will now be found in the car, mobile phones and static storage batteries of the future.”

Shares briefly added 4 per cent to trade at an intra-day high of 26c before they slipped back to 24.7c.

The Altura mine officially opened in early September following an 18-month construction period.

Altura Mining (ASX:AJM) shares over the past 12 months.
Altura Mining (ASX:AJM) shares over the past 12 months.

 

Altura’s focus now is on continued ramp-up of production to 220,000 tonnes per annum.

The next shipment is scheduled for late October.