Core Lithium will begin construction on its Finniss lithium mine – the first ever in the Northern Territory – after a final investment decision (FID) was made.
Mobilisation and site establishment activities will begin in October 2021, with commissioning of the dense media separation (DMS) plant and first production planned towards the end of 2022.
Core Lithium non-executive chairman Greg English said it was terrific to be creating 250 jobs for the local community through construction and operation.
“We are delighted to be developing the Territory’s first lithium project, investing in the local economy and creating hundreds of new jobs on a project that will deliver lasting value for all Core stakeholders,” English said.
Everything is now in place for Core to take the 15-million tonne mineral resource to the next level, with 80 per cent of Finniss’ initial output covered by a four-year offtake agreement with Gangfeng and Yahua – the latter a key lithium supplier to Tesla.
The project is 88 kilometres by sealed road to Darwin port and has nearby access to power, gas and rail infrastructure.
Core Lithium managing director Stephen Biggins said the announcement paid off five years of hard work to get it off the ground.
“The project and FID are underpinned by high-grade lithium deposits that have the potential to support long term lithium supply from northern Australia, quality lithium offtake partners and a highly engaged and supportive NT government,” Biggins said.
“The Core team looks forward to getting feet on the ground immediately and commencing construction, in line with our schedule to produce first lithium concentrate before the end of the next year as Australia’s next lithium producer.”
Northern Territory Mining and Industry Minister Nicole Manison gave her approval to the project as it was announced.
“The Northern Territory Labor Government is delivering on its promise to make the Territory a world-class hub for resources and critical minerals, which is cementing our position as Australia’s comeback capital,” Manison said.
The FID closely followed the signing of Primero to construct the DMS for $40 million, with construction to begin in March 2022.