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Australia’s newest lithium producer, Tawana Resources, has started hauling its West Australian wares to a local port ahead of shipping it to China.

And boss Mark Calderwood told Stockhead it is “possibly one of the best concentrates to leave WA”.

Based on an April 2017 sales deal struck with Hong Kong-based Burwill Holdings, the maiden 3250-tonne shipment would fetch Tawana roughly $US2.9 million ($3.8 million) if the company received the negotiated 2018 and 2019 price of $US880 per tonne.

However, Mr Calderwood is expecting a much better price.

“We expect to get a premium price. It’s a higher grade than expected. I would expect in the order of $US1000 a tonne,” he said.

Investors welcomed the news, with shares adding 1.2 per cent to trade at 41c on Tuesday morning.

The lithium concentrate will be loaded onto the Astra N at the Port of Esperance in WA’s south on May 2. A second larger shipment is expected later in May.

Lithium concentrate, Tawana Resources, Bald Hill project
Lithium concentrate being loaded at Tawana’s Bald Hill project in WA. Pic: Tawana

Tawana began production at its West Australian Bald Hill project in March, marking the first new lithium concentrate production in Australia since 2016.

Under the offtake agreement with Burwill, Tawana will supply lithium concentrate for an initial five years.

The Bald Hill project is located 50km southeast of Kambalda in the Eastern Goldfields, and about 75km southeast of the Mt Marion lithium project jointly owned by Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) Neometals (ASX:NMT) and one of China’s largest lithium producers, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co.

The project is a 50/50 joint venture between Tawana and Alliance, which recently announced a merger deal that is expected to create a pure-play mid-tier lithium company with a market cap of around $446 million.

There is currently about 4000 tonnes of high-grade concentrate at the Bald Hill site.

TAW shares over the past year.
TAW shares over the past year.