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Core Lithium intends to pursue new and aggressive exploration programs funded by $100 million raised from a placement of 97.1 million shares.

The first 3500 tonnes of spodumene from the Finniss lithium mine will be sold to long-term customer Sichuan Yahua (Yahua) at the end of April.

Under a prepayment agreement, Yahua has also agreed to purchase an additional 15,000 tonnes of concentrate, produced from ore mined from the Grants pit, approximately 25km south of Darwin.

“It is pleasing to be able to announce the contract for sale of our first concentrate products to Yahua who have been a long-term partner for Core and strong supporter of the Finniss project,” Core Lithium chief executive officer Gareth Manderson said.

“We are pleased to put these mutually beneficial agreements in place, which sees us sell our high-quality spodumene concentrate to a valued customer. The prepayment provides additional working capital and assists Core to manage our cash flow as we continue to ramp up operations.”

The Finniss mine is a valuable asset for the Northern Territory as the region looks to grow a $40 billion economy.

The project is the only lithium mine in the country outside Western Australia and was officially opened in October last year.

“The Core team has done a fantastic job quickly transitioning from discovery and exploration to construction and shortly supply of high-grade lithium concentrate to a global market in just six years,” Manderson said at the time.

“The first four years of production from the project is already secured with about 80 per cent sold to offtake partners, including Ganfeng Lithium and Sichuan Yahua, who have provided tremendous support during our development phase.”

Yahua will make payment for 80 per cent of the spodumene in April, with the balance due upon shipment. 

“Commencement of concentrate production early this year and the agreement for the first sale of concentrate from the Finniss mine demonstrates that Core continues to deliver against its milestones,” Manderson said.