Core Lithium has received major project status (MPS) from the federal government for the Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory.
Core Lithium director Stephen Biggins said the MPS of Finniss opened the door for a critical minerals hub to be established in the Northern Territory.
“When in production, the Finniss lithium project will be the first Australian lithium- producing mine outside of Western Australia, with our proximity to Darwin Port – the country’s nearest port to Asia – serving as a direct route for our lithium to be processed and delivered to end users worldwide,” he said.
“This opens up a pathway for a critical minerals hub to be established in Northern Australia, along with the potential for significant associated local modern manufacturing opportunities.”
The MPS will be granted over a three-year period and will provide Core Lithium with additional support from the federal government’s Major Projects Facilitation Agency.
This provides Core Lithium with a single-entry point for approvals from the federal government, along with support and coordination for the project with state and territory approvals.
Core Lithium is set to release a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for Finniss in the first half of 2021, with construction of the project to begin before the end of the year.
“The award of major project status for our flagship Finniss lithium project is another major milestone for both the company and the federal government, as we strive to enter the construction phase in 2021, subject to a final investment decision,” Biggins said.
The Finnis project is expected to employ 360 people during construction and sustain 250 jobs during operation.
The MPS was awarded by Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews and Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.
The two ministers also gave MPS to TNG’s Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron mine and processing facility.
Minister Pitt said the projects would advance Australia’s position in the critical minerals sector.
“These projects will be able to supply markets in Asia and Europe with critical minerals, and have the potential to increase downstream processing, increasing supply chain diversification,” he said.
“These are exactly the types of projects that our government wants to see, as we build on our resource-rich history for the decades ahead.”