Tuesday 9th Mar, 2021

First lithium facility outside WA gets green light

The Northern Territory Government has approved Core Lithium’s mine management plan, completing the final authorisation required to build the Territory’s first lithium mine and production facility.
Stephen Biggins

The Northern Territory Government has approved Core Lithium’s mine management plan (MMP), completing the final authorisation required to build the Territory’s first lithium mine and production facility.

Core Lithium’s Finniss Lithium Project is located around an hour by road from Darwin Port and could become the first lithium producer outside of Western Australia.

The company is aiming to have the project be construction ready in 2020. First production is expected around a year after construction starts. Core plans to export 175,000 tonnes per year of high-quality lithium concentrate. Contracts for 40 per cent of this offtake are already in place and further sales agreements are currently being negotiated.

Core Lithium’s Managing Director Stephen Biggins said the 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.

“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,” Biggins said.

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“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.”

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,” he said.

“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.”

Northern Territory Primary Industries and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said the Territory 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,” he said.

“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.”