Pilbara Minerals has received the final major environmental approval required for it to complete construction of Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project in Western Australia.

Approval was granted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), and will allow the company to proceed with ongoing operations of the processing and ancillary plant at the project.

The development comes after the company obtained all other environmental and regulatory approvals earlier this year.

Pilbara Minerals managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden said: “With site construction activities at Pilgangoora now in full swing, the project fully permitted for the completion of construction, a portfolio of Tier-1 off-take and strategic partners in place both for Stage 1 and Stage 2 and the stage set for the commencement of mining operations, this is an exciting time for Pilbara Minerals as we close-in on our objective of becoming one of the world’s next significant lithium producers.”

In May, the approval for the mining proposal was received, enabling the company to begin major site construction works. In addition, the company has achieved financial close on its $100m senior secured bond.

“The closure comes after all conditions needed for draw-down of bond proceeds have been satisfied.”

The closure comes after all conditions needed for draw-down of bond proceeds have been satisfied.

However, the customary requirement to first spend the required project equity proceeds is pending and is expected to be fulfilled in the current quarter.

The project has measured, indicated and inferred resource of 156.3 million tonnes, besides proved and probable ore reserve of 80.3 million tonnes grading 1.27% Li2O (lithia) and 123ppm Ta2O5 (tantalite) and 1.08% Fe2O3.

In May, the company signed an offtake agreement with Chinese firm Ganfeng Lithium for the supply of 160,000t per annum of chemical-grade spodumene over an initial term of ten years.