Australian mining firm Core Exploration Limited has applied for a licence to develop one of the country’s highest-grade lithium deposits, as part of plans to make inroads into the Chinese battery materials market.
Core said on 19 October it plans to develop its 100%-owned Grants deposit near Darwin, in the Northern Territory, which contains an estimated 1.8 million tonnes of high-grade spodumene— a key mineral in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
In a related move, the company confirmed it has signed a framework agreement to negotiate terms for a direct shipping ore (DSO) offtake agreement with leading Chinese lithium producer Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co., Ltd.
Core said it plans to export up to one million tonnes of ore per annum to China from the port of Darwin.
Core’s managing director Stephen Biggins said the company was “well-funded and in an ideal position to meet China’s demand with a high-quality resource, excellent logistics and a relatively simple mining proposition with limited environmental impacts”.
“Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries will play a key role in the growing market for renewable and clean energy technologies,” Biggins said. “China is the largest producer of lithium batteries in the world and is Core’s key market.