The NT Independent is providing you with an update of resource news from across the Northern Territory. This week, Gina Rinehart is surpassed as the country’s largest land owner, lots happening with Core Lithium’s Finniss project and Arafura Resources appoints managers for its Nolans Project; plus more.
Finniss Lithium Project granted environmental approval
Core Lithium Ltd (CXO) Finniss Lithium Project has been granted its second Environmental Approval by the Territory Labor Government under the Environment Protection Act 2019.
The environmental approval gives the go signal for the Finniss Lithium Project BP33 Underground mine, with CXO to develop and operate an underground lithium mine on the Cox Peninsula, 33km west of Berry Springs.
The approval came after an environmental assessment made by the NT Environment Protection Authority in consultation with concerned government authorities.
The approved mine is part of the Finniss Lithium Project and holds major project status for the Australian and NT governments. The project’s capital investment value is pegged at $33.79 million and is estimated to be creating around 60 jobs during construction and 150 jobs top once operational.
“We will continue to work with Core Lithium on this project to ensure the best outcomes,” Environment Minister Eva Lawler said.
CXO awards Finniss crushing deal to CSI Mining
In keeping with the Finniss project, Core Lithium Ltd has executed a crushing services contract with CSI Mining Services for the Finniss lithium project near Darwin.
“The award of the crushing contract is another significant step in the development of the Finniss Lithium Project. The site is ready for CSI to start work next month,” CXO managing director Stephen Biggins said.
Run of mine ore will be stockpiled before feeding into the CSI crusher circuit. The crushed ore will then be stockpiled before being processed by the dense media separation plant to make spodumene concentrate for export.
The Federal Government awarded Major Project Status to the Finniss Project in March last year, branding the lithium play as a strategically significant asset.
Finniss is poised to provide the globe with high-grade and high-quality lithium that’s suitable for batteries used to power electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.
ARU appoints lead arrangers for the Nolans project
Arafura Resources (ARU) has appointed Societe Generale and National Australia Bank as lead managers of debt financing for its Nolans Project in the NT.
The two banks will jointly arrange the debt financing facility worth 60 per cent of the estimated total development cost of the project.
The appointment follows a grant of $30 million under the Federal Government’s modern manufacturing initiative, which will go to the construction of ARU’s rare earth separation plant, which is conditional on the completion of a successful due diligence process and credit approval.
ARU’s wholly-owned neodymium praseodymium rare earth project is located 135kms north of Alice Springs and has a 38-year mine life.
HXG on track for its 12-month growth plans—report
Hexagon Energy Materials Ltd (HXG) end-March 2022 quarterly report said the company saw the crystallization of its best pathway forward to realise value from its existing asset base, with a 12-month growth plan defined and budgeted, centred on drilling at McIntosh and Halls Creek
The March 2022 quarter saw the crystallisation of Hexagon’s best pathway forward to realise value from its existing asset base, with a 12-month growth plan defined and budgeted centred on drilling at McIntosh and Halls Creek, the company said.
The report showed that HXG’s growth plan is now fully funded as a result of the recently completed capital raise of $1.91 million which closed on April 27 (post-March quarter end).
According to the report, in the March quarter, the Pedrika Clean Hydrogen (in the NT) project pre-feasibility study was finalized confirming more commercially attractive, large blue ammonia project prospects in North Western Australia leading to the company’s WAH2 Project being established.
HXG’s 12-month growth plans include Drilling of three “Drill-Ready” Ni-Cu-PGE targets in the greater Melon Patch prospect at the McIntosh Project in the Kimberley in Western Australia; Drilling of Au-Base Metal-PGE targets at the Hall’s Creek Project (also in Kimberley), and the progression of the WAH2 project through a scoping study where natural gas supply Carbon Capture and Storage toll service, plant site and strategic partnership investment agreements are secured.
Agribusiness: Gina Rinehart ousted as Australia’s biggest landholder
Crown Point Pastoral Co.’s Viv Oldfield and Donny Costello have replaced billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart as the country’s biggest landholder after buying 3.2 million hectares from her Hancock Agriculture and S Kidman and Co businesses in a landmark four-station, multimillion-dollar deal.
Industry experts said that from a land size point of view, Crown Point’s purchase of Rinehart’s Ruby Downs and Sturt Creek stations (796,000 hectares) in the NT and the Innamincka (1.36 million hectares) and Macumba stations (1.1million hectares) in South Australia takes its farmland investments to more than 7.2 million hectares, bigger than the size of Ireland.
After years at the top of the biggest landholder charts, Rinehart’s well-publicised divestment of more than four million hectares from her portfolios during the past year has seen her slip three places to number four with 5.9 million hectares.
Other major players involved in land transactions during the past 12 months have included Action Land and Cattle, which sold its Croydon Station at Maryborough in Queensland for $80 million; and Hughes Pastoral Company, which forked out $215 million for the 438,000-hectare Miranda Downs Station in Queensland’s Gulf region which also paid $100 million for Rinehart’s 550,000-hectare Riveren and Inverway stations in the NT’s Victoria River District.
Experts said property values in some regions of Australia have more than doubled in the past three years due to a perfect storm of improved seasonal conditions, record commodity prices and low-interest rates.