Lithium heavyweight Pilbara Minerals employs Plotlogic’s OreSense tech to boost production, slash emissions
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Leading mining tech player Plotlogic has inked a deal with $15bn Pilbara Minerals to trial OreSense® at the world’s largest hard rock lithium operation, the Pilgangoora project in Western Australia.
Plotlogic has won a 12-month contract with Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) to improve identification and delineation of ore and waste materials. This will lead to increased production of lithium at the mine.
The contract is consistent with Pilbara Minerals commitment to sustainability and it is a move that could pay big dividends for Pilbara Minerals should the Federal Government’s Safeguard Mechanism be passed into law this week. The contract is the latest in a rapidly growing number of projects for Plotlogic. The Australian company, with operations in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Brazil and North America, already counts three of the world’s largest resources companies – BHP, Vale and South32, as clients.
The Pilgangoora ore body is the largest hard rock lithium deposit in the world and is considered strategically important within the global lithium supply chain. Pilbara Minerals recently announced a record, half yearly profit of A$1.24billion. Its CEO, Dale Henderson, said “this is just the beginning” at the time of the results. It is seeking to increase production from 580,000 to 680,000 at Pilgangoora.
“Without critical metals such as lithium the transition towards net zero will not be possible,” Plotlogic CEO and Founder Dr Andrew Job said.
The rising deployment of clean energy technologies is set to “supercharge demand for critical minerals”, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Major electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are expanding production at a rapid rate, with Germany’s BMW the latest to announce it will invest 800 million euros (A$1.2 billion) in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi to produce ‘high-voltage batteries’ and ‘Neue Klasse’ electric vehicles.
The IEA says electric vehicles and battery storage account for about half of the mineral demand growth from clean energy technologies over the next two decades, spurred by surging demand for battery materials.
The agency predicts that under its sustainable development scenario, lithium will witness the fastest growth rate, with demand estimated to soar over 40 times.
This rapidly rising demand requires more lithium and experts see a significant supply deficit on the horizon. This is where Plotlogic’s OreSense® tech comes in quite handy.
Likened to swapping a hacksaw for a scalpel, OreSense® allows miners to see the exact mineral composition of core and blasthole samples, open pit and underground mine faces and stockpiles.
Utilising Plotlogic’s OreSense® at Pilgangoora is aimed at increasing production and reducing dilution, with less ore going to waste and waste going to ore.
Another benefit of the technology is its ability to further reduce Pilbara Minerals’ carbon footprint, a key consideration in the development of the equipment.
A former mining executive, Dr Job said he developed Plotlogic’s OreSense® technology with the firm belief that mining should be able to generate the resources society needs without harming the environment.
“Plotlogic is committed to supporting its customers to mine more selectively and sustainably, and helping unlock the minerals needed for the net zero future,” Dr Job said.
“Our goal is to work with our customers to use AI and automation to deliver the future of natural resources – one that benefits society and the industry with minimal harm to the environment.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Plotlogic, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.