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Australia's Pilbara Minerals half-year revenue soars as lithium market rebounds

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australia’s Pilbara Minerals Ltd on Friday reported a more than 56% jump in half-year revenue and pointed to bullish market conditions for lithium as its loss narrowed from a year earlier.

The lithium market looks set to break out of a three-year downturn, driven by an uptick in electric-vehicle (EV) demand from China that has helped support prices of minerals used to make EV batteries.

Australian lithium miners, which together account for around half of the world’s supply, have already started showing signs of an uptick with record shipments of spodumene in the December quarter and acceleration of projects.

“Lithium raw material markets are now clearly in an upward trend as it relates to both demand and price, which is now translating to improved spodumene pricing,” Pilbara Managing Director Ken Brinsden said.

The company said shipments of spodumene concentrate for the six months to Dec. 31 more than doubled to 114,239 dry metric tonnes.

That helped revenue jump 56.5% to A$59.1 million ($45.9 million), while its loss after tax narrowed to A$21.2 million from A$63.4 million a year earlier.

Banking on a rebound in lithium prices, Wesfarmers and Chilean miner SQM earlier this week approved a final investment decision for their Mt Holland lithium project in Western Australia. ($1 = 1.2882 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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