$34 million NT lithium mine gets environmental approval


A nearly $34million lithium mine south of Darwin has been given the environmental green light by the Northern Territory government.

BP33 is the second mine along the Cox Peninsula to receive environmental approval with the Grants Lithium project, both owned by ASX-listed Core Lithium.

The BP33 mine is part of the Finiss Lithium project, which contains approximately 15 million tonnes of mineral resources at a concentration of 1.3% lithium oxide. BP33 itself has approximately 3.24 million tonnes of mineral resources at a concentration of 1.51% lithium oxide. The state government expects BP33 to create 60 construction jobs and support between 120 and 150 operational jobs.

Lithium ore samples taken by Core Lithium Image: corelithium.com.au

Following the introduction of the Environmental Protection Act 2019, this is the second project to receive approval under the legislation. Northern Territory Environment Minister Eva Lawler said the legislation was beneficial to the state.

“The Territory’s Labor Government’s reformed environmental protection legislation began in 2020, providing Territorians with an improved environmental regulatory regime,” Ms Lawler said.

“This environmental clearance follows a thorough assessment of potentially significant environmental impacts by the NT EPA – it is the second to be granted under the EP Act and the first for a mine. We will continue to work with Core Lithium on this project to ensure the best results. »

Core Lithium received a 25-year lease for the BP33 site in January 2021. The company then undertook a definitive feasibility study for the Finniss project in mid-2021 and began construction in October 2021. Production is expected to begin in end of the year. .

The study expects the project to produce 173,000 lithium oxide concentrates annually, or a concentration of 5.8%. Overall, the project’s total pre-production capital expenditure is $89 million.

The Finniss project received major project status from the federal government in March 2021, simplifying the process of obtaining regulatory approval from federal agencies.

At the time, Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the project “will be able to supply Asian and European markets with critical minerals and have the potential to increase downstream processing, increasing diversification of the supply chain”.

According to rating agency S&P, demand for lithium in rechargeable batteries, electric vehicles and wind and solar energy storage is expected to more than triple between 2019 and 2025.

According to the Department of Industry, Australia produced 49% of the world’s lithium in 2020, with exports expected to increase from 217,000 tonnes in 2020-21 to 373,000 tonnes in 2022-23, measured in lithium carbonate equivalent.

The Northern Territory Government has invited residents to continue submitting their thoughts on other projects which are also open for consultation here.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email.


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