Following a strategic review intended to ‘preserve business value in…weak market conditions”, Core Lithium has confirmed it will temporarily suspend mining at the Grants open pit near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
It acknowledged the decline of spodumene concentrate, which has dropped 85% in 12 months and 50% since the end of October 2023, and noted that it will reduce its discretionary spending for studies, exploration and corporate costs. It also will continue processing operations from existing stockpiles during the closure.
“This approach reduces the cash cost of Finniss [complex] operations, generates revenue from stockpiles and provides an opportunity to recommence mining as market conditions improve. By suspending operations, rather than preferentially mining ore over waste, the current mine plan will be preserved resulting in improved economics of future mining activities,” Core Lithium said.
The Grants pit will be maintained to allow an orderly ramp up when market conditions improve. As of the end of 2023, it had approximately 280,000 t of ore stockpiles available for processing, allowing for sufficient stocks to feed the concentrator until mid-year and without the need for new mining.
The miner announced in December that it would suspend early works construction at its BP33 site to coincide with the onset of the wet season.
“Good progress has been made on the BP33 project with the box cut excavation complete and the commencement of installation of the tunnel arch footings,” Core officials said.
“Cement stabilisation of the portal face at the end of the box cut had commenced and work on water management facilities has progressed well. The site will be placed in care and maintenance and all construction and infrastructure material delivered to site will be secured until a decision is made to recommence the early works at BP33.”
CEO Gareth Manderson said that, while it was a difficult decision to suspend mining, processing stockpile ore would allow it to continue generating revenue.
“We are working to put the business in the best position possible to recommence mining and proceed with BP33 when market conditions improve,” he added.
Source: Core Lithium