PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government has awarded Major Project status to the Finniss lithium project and the Mt Peake vanadium/titanium/iron project, both in the Northern Territory.
ASX-listed Core Lithium’s Finniss lithium project will require an estimated pre-production capital investment of A$53.5-million to develop a one-million-tonne-a-year operation producing 225 000 t/y of lithium concentrate.
Core Lithium on Monday said that the award of Major Project status represented another major milestone in the path to bringing the project into production.
“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 world-wide,” said Core MD Stephen Biggins.
“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 Finniss project will generate more than 360 jobs during construction and more than 250 ongoing jobs during operation.
An updated definitive feasibility study for the Finniss project is due in the first half of 2021, ahead of a final investment decision.
Meanwhile, the Mt Peake project, being developed by ASX-listed TNG is forecast to produce 243 000 t of high purity vanadium pentoxide, 3.5-million tonnes of titanium pigment and 10.6-million tonnes of iron oxide over a 17-year mine life.
TNG is currently progressing discussions with the Northern Territory government to execute Crown Lease terms over the proposed TIVAN processing facility site, and is advancing discussions with financiers regarding a proposed financing structure to fund the development of the project.
The Mt Peake project will see a mine site established about 235 km north of Alice Springs and a facility set up in Darwin to produce and process vanadium, titanium and iron. This will create up to 1 600 jobs during construction and up to 1 000 ongoing jobs during operation.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the projects will bring huge economic benefits to the Northern Territory and the rest of Australia.
“Lithium is a valuable export which will only become more important in the future, thanks to its use in a range of everyday items from electric car batteries to smart phones, pace makers and digital cameras,” Andrews said.
“Products using vanadium, titanium and iron are also in great demand and these two projects will see our nation capturing more value from these resources, which will create jobs in the Northern Territory and economic opportunities for all of Australia.
“For too long Australia has simply dug up and shipped our critical minerals overseas, but the government has made it a priority for our nation to move up the value chain.
“That’s why Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing is one of six priority areas under our A$1.5-billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy.”
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the granting of Major Project status supports the government’s strategy to develop the critical minerals sector, while also supporting economic development and job creation across Northern Australia.
“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,” Pitt 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.”
Major Project status provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Australian government approvals, project support and coordination with state and territory approvals.