Mineral Resources (MinRes) has responded to media speculation that approval for commissioning of the next stage of its Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia has been blocked.
The Wodgina project, a 50:50 joint venture with Albemarle, consists of a spodumene concentrate plant and lithium hydroxide plant.
MinRes has clarified that an amendment notice was recently issued by the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) in regard to the processing plant.
Media sources have reported that there were risks associated with the commissioning of the processing plant, due to rapidly rising groundwater levels beneath the tailings facility.
The commissioning of processing plants requires the approval of regulators such as the DWER, which has requested further information about the water balance at the project.
This information is required before DWER will permit commissioning of Train 2 of the project to commence.
MinRes stated it was working with DWER to provide it with the required information, which it expected to do within the week. The information required is only available as a result of the commissioning of Train 1, which is presently under way.
Until approval is received from DWER, Train 2 commissioning of the project will be limited to running water.
MinRes has reported that discussions with DWER were not expected to have any material impact on the project or on the company’s financial position.
Additionally, based on the information it has received through the commissioning phase, MinRes has confirmed that the tailings dam for the project is functioning “as expected and engineered.”
MinRes also responded to media reports that the airport at Wodinga hadn’t received appropriate approvals, stating the reports were “factually incorrect.”
The company added that construction of the airport runway at Wodinga was complete and it was continuing to work the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in relation to it.
It also announced that the first test flight is scheduled for today (July 18) and the first charter flight is scheduled for early October.