Liontown awards A$175 million Kathleen Valley lithium haulage contract to Qube

Liontown Resources has awarded the spodumene and direct shipping ore (DSO) haulage services contract for its Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia to integrated logistics solutions provider, Qube Holdings Limited.

Following what Liontown referred to as an extensive tender process, Qube has secured the five-year contract, which involves loading spodumene concentrate at Kathleen Valley; haulage of the concentrate to the Port of Geraldton; storage and stockpile management at the port and the outload to port infrastructure for shipment to Liontown customers. Storage will be in a dedicated facility within the Port of Geraldton.

Qube will use ultra-Quad road-trains to truck all concentrate from Kathleen Valley to the dedicated storage facility at the Port of Geraldton for the duration of the contract. Qube will use its 24/7 fleet monitoring centre in Perth to manage safety and environmental outcomes.

The contract is due to commence in mid-2024 in line with process plant ramp-up. Provision has been made for the services to be provided earlier for DSO as Liontown nears completion of offtake and processing options. As well as generating early revenue for Liontown, selling and shipping DSO will allow the company to trial the haulage logistics chain with lower grade material before first production is achieved from Kathleen Valley in mid-2024.

The concentrate haulage services contract, which is conditional upon Qube finalising arrangements to secure the storage facility at the Port of Geraldton, is valued at approximately A$175 million ($119 million) over the five-year contract term.

Qube has committed to the latest technology in driver and trucking safety as well as pursuing measurable carbon reduction initiatives as part of Liontown’s broader ESG commitments, working with the Kathleen Valley Tjiwarl Traditional Owners and exploring numerous revenue-generating opportunities with Tjiwarl businesses in the coming months, Liontown says. The contract will generate around 45 new positions and the Quad-trailers will be sourced in Western Australia.

Liontown’s Managing Director and CEO, Tony Ottaviano, said: “We look forward to working with Qube on the haulage and storage of our spodumene concentrate and DSO material from Kathleen Valley as well as benefiting from their expertise in the industry, especially with their extensive experience managing spodumene for others.

“This contract coupled with the Underground Mining Services (due this quarter) represents one of the last few outstanding contracts to be awarded as we progress Kathleen Valley towards first production mid-2024.”

Kathleen Valley is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade hard-rock lithium deposits and, with an initial 2.5 Mt/y production capacity, is expected to supply circa-500,000 t/y of 6% lithium oxide concentrate, according to the company.