Perth-based mining services company Minerals Resources has generated $244m (A$328m) from the divestiture of its 5.4% stake in Australian lithium miner Pilbara Minerals.

The stake was offered to institutional investors through an accelerated block trade.

Minerals Resources plans to apply the proceeds to its capital expenditure programme.

The company purchased the stake in October 2016 as part of an agreement to waive offtake rights and a royalty held over Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora project. At that time, the stake was valued at $37m (A$50m).

In a statement, Minerals Resources said that it is ‘delighted with the share price value delivered by Pilbara Minerals’ development of Pilgangoora but believes it is time to redirect this investment into the company’s own growth projects, including in the hard-rock lithium and iron ore sectors’.

In a separate statement, Pilbara Minerals announced a 39% growth in the measured, indicated and inferred resource estimate at its flagship 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Pilbara, Western Australia.

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By GlobalData

The current estimate is 308.9 million tonnes (Mt), grading 1.14% lithium oxide and 105 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, with 3.5Mt of lithium oxide and 71.7 million pounds (Mlb) of tantalum pentoxide.

The company also announced a 59% increase in total measured and indicated resource to 210.2Mt, grading 1.17% lithium oxide, 103 parts per million tantalum pentoxide and 0.56% ferric oxide, with 2.46Mt of lithium oxide and 47.7-Mlb of tantalum pentoxide.

The change comes after the company discovered new pegmatite domains and integrated the Ngungaju Resource.

Pilbara Minerals managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden said: “The scale of the endowment is quite remarkable, with the integration of the adjoining Ngungaju Resource, combined with highly successful development and drilling programmes, taking our resource inventory well and truly to the next level.

“We are looking forward to completing an updated ore reserve next month that will underpin operations for many decades to come. Against the backdrop of surging global demand for lithium raw materials, Pilgangoora is incredibly well-positioned to play a pivotal role in the accelerating global energy transformation.”