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The Northern Territory Government has granted two mineral leases to Avenira, a battery cathode and fertiliser focused project developer based in Perth.

With the granting of the leases, Avenira now wholly owns the Wonarah Phosphate project, located in the Barkly region of NT.

The project is one of the largest phosphate deposits in Australia.

The two mineral leases will allow Avenira to extract a bulk sample for testing and if successful, a direct shipping ore (DRO) operation can begin.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said the mineral leases are helping create long term jobs across the territory.

“The granting of these two mineral leases to Avenira will help to position the Territory as the next Australian home of advanced manufacturing, develop new skills and jobs, as well as support our objective to achieve a $40 billion economy by 2030,” Fyles said.

The Wonarah project could potentially create 1000 jobs and assist in meeting the projected demand for phosphate.

A unique critical element, phosphate has been predicted to become a significant component in lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries used in electric vehicles.

“The Northern Territory has what it takes to be a thriving economy with world class mineral deposits, prospective gas reserves, a strong agriculture sector, emerging information technology capabilities and strategic advantages as a location for trade and defence,” Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison said.

Avenira chief executive officer Brett Clark said the company is pleased to receive the mineral leases so it can proceed towards beginning test pit activities as an interim stage to DSO production.

“Wonarah test pit will set up the logistic supply chains that will enable future DSO production and underpin the important role that Wonarah can play in the development of a downstream LFP battery cathode manufacturing facility in the Northern Territory,” Clark said.