The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - RAY CHAN

Aus­tralian lithium devel­oper Core Lithium has re­ceived ap­proval of its Mine Man­age­ment Plan from the North­ern Ter­ri­tory Gov­ern­ment, mark­ing the achieve­ment of the fi­nal ma­jor au­tho­ri­sa­tion mile­stone to build the Ter­ri­tory’s first lithium mine and pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity.

Core’s Fin­niss Lithium Project, lo­cated within an hour by road to Dar­win Port, is well placed to be­come Aus­tralia’s next lithium pro­ducer and the coun­try’s first out­side WA.

Core Lithium man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Stephen Big­gins said the Fin­niss Lithium Project would cre­ate more than 200 di­rect full-time jobs in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, ad­di­tional em­ploy­ment in South Aus­tralia, and had the po­ten­tial to in­ject more than half a bil­lion dol­lars into the lo­cal econ­omy dur­ing its first three years of op­er­a­tion.

“And Core’s re­cent in­vest­ment into the Project is look­ing to ex­pand that to over $1 bil­lion,” he said.

The Fin­niss Lithium Project is now the only new, fully per­mit­ted lithium project in Aus­tralia, is one of the few Aus­tralian lithium projects that is not sub­stan­tially for­eign-owned or con­trolled, and Core wants to have the Project con­struc­tion­ready in 2020. First pro­duc­tion is ex­pected about a year af­ter project con­struc­tion starts and Core is plan­ning to ex­port 175,000tpa of high-qual­ity lithium con­cen­trate, with con­tracts for 40pc of this off­take al­ready in place and fur­ther sales agree­ments cur­rently be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

The Fin­niss Project has ar­guably the best-sup­port­ing lo­gis­tics chain to mar­kets in Asia of any Aus­tralian lithium project.

It’s lo­cated within 25km of power sta­tions, gas, rail and one hour by sealed road to work­force ac­com­mo­dated in Dar­win and im­por­tantly close to Dar­win Port – Aus­tralia’s near­est port to Asia.

Mr 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.

In fur­ther good news, a fi­nal round of test­ing has con­firmed ex­cel­lent re­cov­er­ies via Dense Me­dia Sep­a­ra­tion (DMS) on the spo­dumene peg­matite ex­tracted from the BP33 site at Fin­niss.

The re­sults, which showed an ex­cep­tional con­cen­trate qual­ity pro­duced at high re­cov­ery, will en­able Core to avoid much higher cap­i­tal, fi­nanc­ing and op­er­at­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with flota­tion pro­cess­ing.

Specif­i­cally, the re­sults showed a high lithium con­cen­trate grade of 6pc Li2O, low iron im­pu­ri­ties when com­pared to other lo­cal lithium pro­duc­ers of <0.5pc Fe2O3, and a high prod­uct re­cov­ery of 71pc.

Mr Big­gins said the news is en­cour­ag­ing and con­tin­ues to strengthen the fi­nan­cial case for in­vestors.

“Fin­niss’ su­pe­rior qual­ity, low­iron, and coarse lithium con­cen­trate dif­fer­en­ti­ates Core in the qual­i­ty­fo­cussed bat­tery and EV sup­ply chain. We’re go­ing to be able to de­liver a su­pe­rior prod­uct,” he said.

Core ex­pects the Fin­niss Lithium Project to be po­si­tioned at the front of the line of new global lithium sup­ply as EV man­u­fac­tur­ing re­cov­ers from COVID-19.

The Fin­niss Lithium Project is set to be­come Aus­tralia’s next lithium pro­ducer and the coun­try’s first out­side WA. Fin­niss de­liv­ers a su­pe­rior qual­ity, low­iron, and coarse lithium con­cen­trate.

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