The Northern Territory has approved a new $8 billion ilmenite mine that is expected to be exporting ore within a month.
The SILL80 project, owned by Australian Ilmenite Resources, will produce ilmenite ore that will be used for paper, paint, and plastic production in Asia and the United States.
The project contains around 27 million tonnes of ilmenite valued at $8 billion, and the site initially aims to produce 300,000 tonnes per year and employ 30 people.
AIR director Jerry Ren said in a statement the mine, located around 105km east of Mataranka, was the only site in the world specifically developed for ilmenite production.
“The approval of this mine site will see a brand new mineral industry for the Territory,” he said.
NT Mines Minister Willem Westra van Holthe also said the project was unique for Australia and its approval would be an “incredible boon” for the state's economy.
“This is a prime example of Government working with private business to achieve mutually desirable goals,” he said.
AIR has exploration licences that cover around 14,000sqkm and the company said it had only explored around ten per cent of the holdings.
ABC News reports the Environmental Protection Agency has identified a number of key issues for the mine, including water use and rehabilitation of the strip mining operation.