A South Australian battery mineral project on Eyre Peninsula has received major project status from the federal government.
Renascor Resources has been granted major project status for its $209-million Siviour project, which includes a graphite mine and concentrator on Eyre Peninsula, and a downstream purified spherical graphite manufacturing facility located at Port Adelaide.
The mine site is located about 15 kilometres west of Arno Bay, with the project on track to become the first in-country integrated graphite mine and battery anode material operation outside of China.
This would position Australia as an important participant in the global battery industry and electric vehicle markets.
The project area consists of four granted exploration licences, covering an area of approximately 1370 square kilometres.
Renascor managing director David Christensen said the project would create about 200 jobs on Eyre Peninsula and that being granted major project status was a boost.
"The awarding of major project status provides Renascor with extra support from the Major Project Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Australian Government approvals, project support and coordination with state approvals," he said.
Resources and Water Minister Keith Pitt said the federal government was supporting the development of a project that could bring jobs and significant economic benefits to the region.
He said the project was expected to support more than 100 new jobs during the construction phase and an additional 190 full-time roles over the 40-year life of the project.
"The Australian Government is pleased to support the Siviour project, which will bring new jobs and other economic benefits to South Australian communities while also boosting Australia's position as a leading global critical minerals industry," Mr Pitt said.
"The project has the potential to generate around $260m a year in export revenue, and will also help increase Australia's international competitiveness and help position us a future leader in this sector.
"Whether it is mobile phones and laptops, medical equipment or electric cars, rare earth minerals are the essential components of so much manufacturing today and into the future."
Mr Pitt said the project directly contributed to Australia's Critical Mineral Strategy by increasing the supply of graphite and expanding Australia's capability to refine and process rare earth minerals.
Mr Christensen said the project was in a development phase, with the company conducting detailed engineering and feasibility studies, as well as trying to attain the necessary regulatory approvals to commence mining and secure customers for the products.
"The next steps from here are to complete the technical and regulatory work and to get binding commitments from our offtake customers," he said.
"We are hoping to complete all this work in the first part of next year and then to seek financing to commence construction.
"If all goes well, we could be in production by 2023."