NRW Holdings Limited’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Primero Group, has executed a long term contract for the operations and maintenance (O&M) of Core Lithium’s processing plant and related infrastructure at its Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Under the terms of the contract, Primero will operate and maintain the processing and infrastructure facilities at Finniss for an initial term of five years, with option to extend.
The estimated value of the contract is A$60 million ($38 million), and follows on from the current contract in execution for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Finniss, awarded to Primero in September 2021.
The O&M contract signed between Core Lithium and Primero highlights the unparalleled industry expertise and proven track record in lithium processing and operational excellence outcomes, NRW said.
“Primero continues to grow its portfolio of contract operation and maintenance services across the base and battery metals sectors with a strong track record of delivery and giving customers assurance of safe outcomes, accelerated plant ramp-up, ongoing operational excellence practices, and continuous improvement to achieve cost effective and optimised production outcomes,” it added.
Primero says it has the majority of key personnel on hand for deployment into the contract commencing from October 2022 and expects to complete all remaining recruitment and operational readiness activities by December 2022, ready for first production.
NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “The diversification of the Primero business into longer term operational contracts is continuing to grow with this award showcasing the depth and operational knowledge of the group, especially within the battery minerals sector. The capability to develop and operate assets of this nature is well aligned with the group’s strategy over the coming years and will continue to evolve with build own operate and equity style investments in projects. We look forward to a long-term relationship with Core Lithium.”
In mid-2021, Core released a definitive feasibility study for the Finniss project, marking a major milestone in its goal to become Australia’s next major lithium producer by the end of 2022.
The study highlighted an average production of 173,000 t/y of high-quality lithium concentrate at a C1 operating cost of $364/t and a start-up capital cost of A$89 million ($56 million) thanks to the incorporation of a 1 Mt/y DMS processing plant in the project’s design.