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

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Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australia's Pilbara Minerals Ltdon Friday reported a more than 56% jump in half-year revenue andpointed to bullish market conditions for lithium as its lossnarrowed from a year earlier.

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

Australian lithium miners, which together account for aroundhalf of the world's supply, have already started showing signsof an uptick with record shipments of spodumene in the Decemberquarter and acceleration of projects.

"Lithium raw material markets are now clearly in an upwardtrend as it relates to both demand and price, which is nowtranslating to improved spodumene pricing," Pilbara ManagingDirector Ken Brinsden said.

The company said shipments of spodumene concentrate for thesix months to Dec. 31 more than doubled to 114,239 dry metrictonnes.

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

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