Australian lithium miner Core Lithium has brought its Finniss lithium operation near Darwin, Northern Territory, to fruition, making it the first-ever lithium mine in production in the Australian state and the country’s only lithium mine outside Western Australia.
The mine, which will have a workforce of about 300 directly and indirectly, is on target to export direct shipping ore (DSO) lithium by the end of this year; on 3 October, the miner confirmed the first sale of spodumene DSO product.
Operations and maintenance at the processing plant will be performed by the Primero Group, an arm of NRW Holdings, following the confirmation of a long-term, A$600 million contract that was also unveiled 10 October.
“[We have] the majority of key personnel on hand for deployment into the contract commencing from October 2022 and expects to complete all remaining recruitment and operational readiness activities by December 2022, ready for first production,” Primero said.
This newest contract comes just one year after its current contract in execution for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) in September 2021.
Core CEO Gareth Manderson pointed out that the company is bringing production online at a time of high lithium prices, strong global demand and constrained supply.
“The Core team has done a fantastic job quickly transitioning from discovery and exploration to construction and shortly supply of high-grade lithium concentrate to a global market in just six years,” he said.
“The first four years of production from the Finniss lithium project is already secured with approximately 80% sold to offtake partners, including Ganfeng Lithium and Sichuan Yahua, who have provided tremendous support during our development phase.”
First production from Finniss is on schedule for delivery by the end of 2022. The plant is preparing for commissioning; first production is expected to be seen in the first half of next year.
Sources: Core Lithium and NRW Holdings