Pilbara Minerals receives $19.5 million loan for 17 years of safer trucking

Pilbara Minerals has received a $19.5 million loan from Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to upgrade Western Australia’s 70km Pippingarra Road that stretches from its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project.

NAIF chief executive Laurie Walker pointed out the safety benefits delivered by the road upgrade, saying, “The project avoids traversing three significant railway crossings and provides a safer alternative to the current trucking by keeping heavy vehicles off a large part of the Great Northern Highway.

“It also increases haulage payloads allowing larger road train configurations to be used, and will mitigate extreme weather risks by providing an alternative route north to Port Hedland.”

The road will not only increase Pilbara Minerals’ productivity and efficiency, but will also be available to all users. The public benefit is calculated at nearly $27 million over 17 years of Pilgangoora mine life.

Walker said, “Public benefit is a mandatory criterion for all NAIF-funded projects. Many private individuals and businesses, including pastoral stations, indigenous communities, quarries, local residents, tourists and other mining companies will enjoy the benefits of improved access to remote locations in this part of the Pilbara region.”

An Indigenous joint venture, NPJV, was sub-contracted to do preliminary roadworks. Other construction and ongoing maintenance works will also be offered to local indigenous people and businesses.

“Pilbara Minerals has forged strong working relationships with the traditional owners of the region,” said Walker.

“This is vital as all projects that receive NAIF funding must have a strong indigenous engagement strategy.”

The NAIF-proposed funding is subject to the Western Australian Government’s approval.

Pilbara Minerals’ operation houses one of the largest lithium ore deposits in the world.

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