Western Australia’s Kidman Resources is currently in a battle with the mining warden to defend its Mt Holland Project amidst a conflict regarding the spending obligation set out in the WA Mining Act.
Kidman is planning a lithium mine and refinery project capable of producing 44, 000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year. The project is a joint venture with South American giant – SQM and has so far had the support of the Western Australian government. The recent dispute is related to spending obligations of exploration tenements with the project, in which the amount spent is $100 000 short of the prescribed amount in the WA Mining Act.
Kidman and SQM have already applied for an exemption to the rule, however, this was opposed by Phoenix Rise and Jeffrey Hull, requiring further input from the mining warden and Mr Bill Johnston, Minister for Mining and Minerals.
Kidman Resources made a statement earlier this week, stating that if the warden’s requirements were accepted by Mr Johnston it would cause significant delays to the Mt Holland project which includes a lithium hydroxide plant to be built in Kwinana. Their statement also included a number of compelling reasons for the Minister to reject the warden’s recommendations including the economic benefits for the state, which far exceed the $100 000 shortfall in spending.
The Kidman statement said;
“Clearly, the Mt Holland Project is of strategic significance to Western Australia and the stated objective of the Western Australian Government to establish a global lithium province in the state,” the statement read.
“The Mt Holland project has already been granted lead agency status as a project of state significance.
“Kidman and SQM have so far invested more than $55 million in the Mt Holland Project, which is expected to directly create more than 350 jobs by 2021, plus additional jobs through the construction phase.
“The project will make a significant contribution to the Western Australian economy through taxes and State”. Mr Johnston will make his decision shortly, as Kidman and SQM are hoping to soon release their pre-feasibility study for the Kwinana refinery.