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Pilbara share price on watch after strong trading update

The Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) share price is on watch this morning after an early trading update.

What did Pilbara announce this morning?

In a production update this morning, Pilbara reported that its recent plant modifications have achieved a substantial uplift in lithia recovery from its Pilgangoora process plant.

Pilbara’s plant modifications are nearing completion and commissioned with optimisation underway.

The company’s current plant production run has seen initial recovery results in line with expectations. This includes a “substantial” uplift in recovery performance with 60% lithia recovery in the December quarter-to-date. 

The company’s recovery range hit 66% to 71% and an average of 68.5% from 6–10 November.

This steady-state production was interrupted by a Western Australia Police Force investigation following a tragic incident. The Pilbara share price fell lower this week as the company reported a death at the project site. Pilbara later said the incident was between contractors and not the company’s staff.

Pilbara’s higher recovery rates are the core pillar for its unit cost reduction plans. Pilbara is targeting cash operating costs of US$320 to US$350 per dry metric tonne (dmt).

Managing Director Ken Brinsden said the plant improvement works were “already delivering tangible benefits”.

How has the Pilbara share price performed this week?

It’s been a tough week for Pilbara shareholders following the incident at the Pilgangoora site.

The Pilbara share price plummeted 4.69% lower to $0.30 per share on the ASX yesterday. That means the company’s value has now plunged 11.76% since Monday morning.

Pilbara still has a market cap of $678 million but is trading close to its $0.27 per share 52-week low.

It was a similar story for lithium “pure-play” miner Orocobre Ltd (ASX: ORE) this week. The Orocobre share price dropped 5.82% to $2.59 per share yesterday as lithium mining stocks fell lower.

Fellow miner Galaxy Resources Ltd (ASX: GXY) share price fell 5.16% to $1.01 per share in yesterday’s trade.

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Motley Fool contributor Kenneth Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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