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The Core Lithium Finniss mine in the Northern Territory has shipped off it's first 15,000 tonnes bound for China.

The Core Lithium Finniss mine in the Northern Territory has shipped off its first 15,000 tonnes bound for China.

The only lithium mine in the country outside of Western Australia, there were talks of Finniss supplying the commodity to electric vehicle (EV) giant Tesla before the deal fell through in October of 2022.

But not all is lost, with Core Lithium assuring the NT Government that there were no shortage of other buyers.

“They (Core Lithium) have already secured two off-take agreements, and that’s just the start,” NT Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison said.

“So we are very confident in the company.”

Although the buyer of the first shipment, worth approximately $21 million, is undisclosed, the lithium will be used for EVs and renewable energy.

“This is just the first shipment of many coming into the future,” NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said.

There are other potential lithium mine sites on the NT Government’s radar as Australia looks to clean energy to help tackle climate change.

Tesla has been teasing a possible lithium mine purchase since early 2022, citing the need to speed-up worldwide adoption of clean energy technologies. The possibility was raised by chief executive officer Elon Musk amid fears that the supply of lithium, nickel, copper and other future-facing materials could not match demand later this decade.

Although the deal with Tesla fell through, Core Lithium said it still looks forward to maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue.

Rio Tinto is also looking for lithium opportunities, predicting prices for the key raw material in electric-vehicle batteries will stay high for a “long period of time”.

Rio believes half of all car sales could be electric by 2030, up from nine per cent in 2021, saying that “high-grade brines and Australia hard rock” will be called upon to meet demand.

“If you want to tackle the issue of climate change in the world, then you have to mine the materials that will help you do that,” Manison said.

“And lithium is exactly that.”