Construction has begun on the $89 million Finniss Lithium Project, the first-ever lithium mine to be approved outside Western Australia and the first new mine of significant scale to be approved in the NT since 2013.
Lithium is considered a critical mineral strategic to the global economy, particularly for new and emerging technologies.
More than half a billion dollars is expected to be injected into the local economy during the initial three years of the mining project.
The NT Government granted final approval for the endeavor in the Bynoe area, which had previously been mined for tin and tantalum, in April 2020.
On Tuesday morning, the Territory Government and Core Lithium announced this next stage of development in the KIA motors showroom of the Darwin Motor Group in Winnellie.
"The Territory is entering a wave of new mining, and this is another exciting milestone for Australia's comeback capital," said Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
"This project will provide hundreds of world-class mining jobs for residents in Darwin, Palmerston, and the Rural Area, which will also support local business and create new opportunities for Territorians."
Based on current global supplies, the Finniss Lithium mine plans to deliver between 5 and 10 per cent of the world's lithium used in batteries, electric vehicles, mobile phones, high-definition screen displays, solar panels, medical equipment, and military technology.
Construction follows the project reaching the final investment decision last month, and Core Lithium successfully raising $150 million from institutional investors and shareholders.
Executives from Core Lithium say it will create 250 jobs for Territorians during construction and operations within an hour's drive from Darwin.
"This next phase of the company will be transformational, and we are excited to see construction milestones met at Finniss over the coming 12 months, ahead of first production before the end of 2022," said managing director Stephen Biggins.
"We also look forward to engaging the local workforce in the NT, with more than 84 per cent of available jobs at Finniss already appointed to locals."
The open cut and underground operation is located 35 kilometres west of Berry Springs on the Cox Peninsula Road. Initial construction works involve road access, site establishment and construction of communications, fuel, and water supply infrastructure.
Mr Biggins said mining activity at the Finniss Lithium Project is on track to commence late this year, and it is anticipated more than one million tonnes of lithium-bearing ore will be mined each year over the predicted 7 - 10 year life of the project.
The first exports will be produced before the end of 2022.
"At a time when Australia is firmly focused on both the generation of renewable resources and future job prospects for the regions, Core is incredibly proud of this milestone we've reached in the Northern Territory today," Mr Biggins said.
"We have customers that link us to Tesla and other battery material processors, and we are seeing huge growth of electric vehicle sales around the globe."
Mr Biggins said the development of the Finniss Lithium Project could position the NT as a strategically important jurisdiction for the production, processing, and manufacturing of critical minerals to the global market.
Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison said the government was delivering on its promise to make the Territory a world-class hub for resources and critical minerals.
"This is more great news for Territorians, because construction means jobs, jobs, and more jobs for locals," Ms Manison said.
Finniss Lithium has been awarded Australian federal government major project status and boasts world-class, high-grade and high-quality lithium suitable for lithium batteries used to power electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.
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