Lithium exploration and production in Australia has predominantly concentrated on hard-rock lithium sources such as Greenbushes Lithium Mine, Mt Cattlin mine and Pilbara Minerals Pilgangoora Project, all in Western Australia. With further exploration carried out in the Pilbara area as well as in the southern region of Western Australia, where Greenbushes is located.
Greenbushes is currently operated by Talison Lithium and has been producing lithium for over 25 years and is recognised as the longest continually operated mining area in Western Australia. The deposit is a spodumene pegmatite zone stretching over 3kms long and up to 300m wide, with spodumene often making up 50% of the rock. With two processing plants onsite at Greenbushes, one producing chemical-grade lithium and one producing technical-grade lithium, Talison Lithium currently exports over 350,000 tonnes of lithium products annually.
Mt Cattlin mine, owned by Galaxy Resources, is a spodumene and tantalum mining operation located in Western Australia. Galaxy Resources restarted lithium and tantalum mining and processing operations in early 2016, making Mt Cattlin the only new lithium mine to begin production, globally, since the recent large and sustained increase in lithium prices. The resource at Mt Cattlin consists of 16Mt at 1.08% Li2O and 5.7Mlbs Ta2O5.
Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantulum Project located in Western Australia has been confirmed as one of the biggest new spodumene deposits in the world. The Indicated and Inferred Resource at Pilgangoora amounts to 59.3Mt at 1.44% Li2O.