The Arruwurra Aboriginal Corporation has signed a Mining Agreement with Avenira Limited to continue development of a major phosphate project; a critical mineral utilised in renewable energy storage batteries. 

The Wonarah Phosphate Project at the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct in the Barkly will initially export phosphate rock and later supply to Avenira’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) project, which is set to help the Northern Territory become a major player in the global critical minerals supply chain. 

Both projects are expected to provide significant economic and strategic opportunity for the Northern Territory.

Phosphate is traditionally used in agricultural fertiliser, and is in increasing demand for use as a critical active material used within electric vehicle batteries or energy storage batteries.

With this project and other proposals, Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is set to become a renewable energy hub creating 20,000 jobs.

It’s estimated the Wonarah project will initially create 25 jobs in the Barkly, growing up to 50 jobs during the Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) program. This is in addition to the 100 jobs estimated in the first stage of the LFP facility, generating more than USD$4 billion in revenue annually once scaled to full production.

The agreement is a founding step in building a strong relationship between Avenira and Arruwurra’s members, and creates pathways to sustainable commercial outcomes and social benefits.

In April, the Territory Government granted Avenira two mineral leases, enabling the company to extract a bulk sample for testing. 

If successful, Avenira will commence a DSO operation. Avenira secured environmental approvals prior to being awarded the mineral leases.

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles, said growing a $40 billion economy by 2030 requires reaching for new, innovative economic opportunities.

“Projects are moving forward and the jobs will start flowing. It is important that we continue to diversify our economy and have support for all our regions,” Ms Fyles said. 

“With the potential to create over 1,000 jobs this project will benefit Territorians from the Top End to the Barkly with the manufacturing plant to be built in Darwin, which will exclusively source phosphate from the Wonarah Phosphate Project in the Barkly.”

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

“Increasing demand and the transition to renewable energy, battery storage and use of high technology products has resulted in global organisations looking to establish diversified, reliable and stable supply chains,” Ms Manison said. 

“Creating jobs up and down the track, this project is the way of the future and what the Territory needs.”

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