The Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) share price is making early headway today, up by 2.3% in early trade at $2.66.
Investors might be responding to a company announcement out of the lithium producer's camp today outlining a government grant it had received.
In wider market moves, the S&P/ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index (ASX: XMM) has also spiked more than 1% from the open today.
What was announced?
Pilbara advised that, along with its project partner, Calix Ltd (ASX: CXL), it has been awarded a $20 million grant from the Australian Government.
The grant falls under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) — Manufacturing Translation Stream. It will be used to support the further development and demonstration of the proposed Mid-Stream Project at the Pilgangoora lithium project.
Speaking on the announcement, Pilbara Minerals' managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden said the company is "very pleased to be able to access the Australian Government's MMI grant funding".
The Mid-Stream Project is expected to facilitate waste minimisation in key end-use markets, which decarbonises the hard-rock lithium supply chain and creates competitive "value-added" products that can serve global markets directly.
We are pleased to be partnered with Calix and their fantastic team, to build-on the technology and ultimately market it around the world.
The company said the funding will be used as part of a joint venture (JV) between Pilbara Minerals and Calix for the progression of a demonstration-scale chemicals facility at the Pilgangoora project. This aims to produce lithium salts for global distribution via an innovative midstream "value-added" refining process.
Pilbara Minerals notes that it and Calix have moved through negotiations in relation to the JV to develop a small-scale demonstration plant.
Both parties are hoping to sign in early Q3 2022, with a final investment decision on the project to be decided in late 2022 to early 2023.
In the last 12 months, the Pilbara Minerals share price has spiked almost 150%. However, it is down by 16% so far in 2022.