Core Lithium has temporarily suspended mining operations at the Grants open pit – the starter operation at the Finniss lithium operation in the Northern Territory.
The suspension comes a couple of weeks after the company first announced that it was suspending BP33 early works, citing difficulties with mining and construction during the wet season and a renewed focus on reducing expenditure.
Core Lithium said this approach will reduce the cash cost of the Finniss operation, generate revenue from stockpiles and provide an opportunity to recommence mining as market conditions improve.
“The team has moved at pace to ensure Core’s value is preserved in these tough market conditions,” Core Lithium chief executive officer Gareth Manderson said.
“While suspending mining operations is a difficult decision, processing of ore stockpiles will continue to generate revenue and we will focus on managing our cash reserves prudently.”
Despite the suspensions, the company will continue to process established ore stockpiles, with about 280,000 tonnes of ore stockpiles made available for processing since December 31 2023.
The Grants pit will be maintained to allow an orderly ramp up once market conditions improve, and work on the BP33 updated feasibility study and the Carlton scoping study will continue.
BP33 will be placed in care and maintenance and its construction and infrastructure material will be secured until a decision is made to recommence early works.
“We are working to put the business in the best position possible to recommence mining and proceed with BP33 when market conditions improve,” Manderson said.
“The Northern Territory government has been a supportive partner, and we remain committed to finding a path forward for the Finniss operation and the Territory community.
“We understand that this decision is difficult for employees, contractors and some local businesses. There is significant prospectivity in the NT both in the Finniss district and in our broader regional tenement holding. We will continue to take a longer-term view and explore for new lithium resources.”
Core will provide revised operating costs, exploration, studies and capital expenditure guidance for the 2023–24 financial year in its December 2023 quarterly report, which is expected to be released this month.
The company will also likely record an impairment of the Finniss operation’s carrying value in its upcoming half-year results.