Finniss lithium project, Australia – update

Image of periodic table symbol for lithium

8th September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Finniss lithium project.

South of Darwin port, in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Project Owner/s
Lithium developer Core Lithium.

Project Description
The updated definitive feasibility study for Stage 1 has confirmed that Core Lithium is well positioned to be the next lithium producer in Australia. The project has been recognised by the Australian and Northern Territory governments as being significant to the economy, and holds major project status.

Finniss has total ore reserves estimated at 7.4-million tonnes grading 1.3% lithium oxide, supporting an eight-year mine life. This is based on using openpit mining methods at the Grants and Hang Gong deposits, and underground mining methods at the Grants, BP33 and Carlton deposits.

Stage 1 of the project will involve mining the high-grade spodumene pegmatite deposit from multiple openpit and underground sources; the transfer of the spodumene pegmatite ore to a run-of-mine pad adjacent to the Grants openpit; water-based, dense-medium separation (DMS) to produce a high-quality spodumene (lithium) concentrate product; and the transport of the lithium concentrate product to the Port of Darwin by sealed public road for overseas export.

The mine will support yearly lithium production of 175 000 t/y from a one-million-tonne-a-year plant.

Potential Job Creation
Core will employ a workforce of about 300 personnel during the life of the mine. Currently, more than 80% of the contractors and direct employees live in Darwin and work at Finniss.

The BP33 project will employ 60 people during construction, and about 150 people during operations.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of A$221-million and an internal rate of return of 53%, with a two-year payback.

Capital Expenditure
Not stated.

Planned Start/End Date
The project is on target to export direct shipping ore (DSO) lithium by the end of 2022, following the first sale of spodumene DSO product announced on October 3.

Latest Developments
Boxcut excavation has started at the BP33 underground project.

The company is spending between A$45-million and A$50-million on early works and an updated feasibility study at BP33, with the aim of making a final investment decision (FID) on the project by the first quarter of 2024.

The boxcut will provide portal access from which the decline to the BP33 orebody will be developed as part of the next phase of capital works.

“We have also now commenced discussions with a number of underground mining contractors who have expressed interest in the BP33 project,” Core MD and CEO Gareth Manderson has said.

The company is also undertaking a systematic exploration programme targeting several deposits near the Finniss processing facilities. It is also progressing with drilling and updated studies at Carlton as Core starts to define the optimal mine sequencing at Finniss.

An updated feasibility study on the Carlton project, which is 2 km from the Finniss processing plant, will be completed by the end of 2024. 

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Lucas Total Contract Solutions (openpit mining services); Primero Group (operations and maintenance and engineering, procurement and construction); and CSI Mining Services (contractor).

Contact Details for Project Information
Core Lithium, tel +61 8317 1700 or email


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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