Advanced Australian lithium developer, Core Lithium (ASX: CXO), has received approval of its Mine Management Plan from the Northern Territory Government, marking the achievement of the final major authorisation milestone to build the Territory’s first lithium mine and production facility.
Core’s Finniss Lithium Project, located within an hour by road to Darwin Port, is well placed to become Australia’s next lithium producer and the country’s first outside Western Australia.
Core Lithium’s Managing Director, Stephen Biggins, said “The Finniss Lithium Project will create more than 200 direct full-time jobs in the Northern Territory, additional employment in South Australia and has the potential to inject more than half a billion dollars into the local economy during its first three years of operation. And Core’s recent investment into the Project is looking to expand that to over 1 billion dollars.”
“Following extensive consultation with local environmental, community and business stakeholders, we’re incredibly pleased to be another step closer to starting a project that will deliver significant prosperity to northern Australia.
“Core would like to thank the Northern Territory Government for its engagement during the MMP approval process and, with continued support, the Finniss Project opens the door for the Territory to be a key supplier of high-quality lithium for batteries to power the growing global electric vehicle market. The Territory has the opportunity to play a crucial role in supporting the world’s response to reducing emissions and managing climate change risk.
“All of the conditions presented to us are manageable, and as we look to complete financing, we can now start to speak with our Northern Territory suppliers and contract partners to progress Finniss towards production.”
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Paul Kirby, said the Territory Labor Government knows that local jobs and economic recovery have never been more important.
“The resources sector is going to play a huge role in our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and the milestone achieved by the Finniss Lithium Project is very good news for Territorians.
“We will get through this crisis, and the Territory Labor Government is working hard to kick-start our economic recovery, including creating local jobs for Territorians.”
Core’s Finniss Lithium Project is now the only new, fully permitted lithium project in Australia, is one of the few Australian lithium projects that is not substantially foreign-owned or controlled, and Core wants to have the Project construction-ready in 2020.
First production is expected approximately a year after project construction starts and Core is planning to export 175,000tpa of high-quality lithium concentrate, with contracts for 40% of this offtake already in place and further sales agreements currently being negotiated.
The Finniss Project has arguably the best-supporting logistics chain to markets in Asia of any Australian lithium project. It’s located within 25km of power stations, gas, rail and one hour by sealed road to workforce accommodated in Darwin and importantly close to Darwin Port – Australia’s nearest port to Asia.
Mr Biggins said the enterprise is in line with Australia’s broader federal priorities on sourcing critical minerals – particularly in the viable production of more renewable energy.
“The Australian Government has identified the importance of critical minerals and in cementing the country’s role as the number one lithium producer in the world.
“Core looks forward to working closely with the newly established Critical Minerals Facilitation Office to support the independent, Australian-owned and timely development of the country’s next lithium project to meet global demands.
“From providing the critical element to powering electric vehicles and balancing our renewable energy generation to shoring up our own local supply of this essential metal, Core Lithium is a part of this vision.
“Core’s focus now turns to present a strong update to the Feasibility Study by the middle of this year, which we’re confident will potentially double or possibly triple the life of the Finniss Lithium Project and dramatically increase project economics,” Mr Biggins concluded.