Element 25 (ASX: E25) is preparing to move its Butcherbird Manganese Project in WA’s Pilbara region to the Due Diligence phase after a positive assessment from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
NAIF is a corporate Commonwealth entity, which has the objective of providing financial assistance to Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory for the construction of infrastructure to benefit northern Australia.
NAIF has reviewed the Butcherbird project, its associated infrastructure requirements and benefits that will flow to local communities in the Pilbara region during and beyond the Project’s current mine life.
E25 Managing Director Justin Brown said the positive decision from NAIF represents the first milestone in E25’s engagement with it.
The next step for the company is to submit a formal Investment Proposal. NAIF has not made any decision to offer finance or made any commitment to provide any financial accommodation and there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached between the parties.
E25 will continue to assist NAIF with its required due diligence investigations regarding participation in the debt facilities that will fund the project capital expenditure necessary to develop the Butcherbird Manganese Project.
E25 is enthusiastic about the progression of the Project to NAIF’s Due Diligence stage, and looks forward to work with NAIF to achieve a successful funding outcome for the world class Butcherbird High Purity Manganese Project that has the potential to provide benefit to the local community for decades into the future,” Mr Brown said.
“In parallel with the Pre-Feasibility Study, E25 is also actively working on funding solutions for the Project. NAIF’s decision to progress to Due Diligence stage is a positive result and an important consideration as E25 looks to complete its Pre-Feasibility Study and implement its funding solution.
Mr Brown added that manganese was identified as a critical mineral in the Australian Government’s recent Critical Minerals Strategy which bodes well for long term demand for this important steel and battery raw material.
The Butcherbird High Purity Manganese Deposit is a world class manganese resource with current JORC resources in excess of 263 Mt of manganese ore. The company has completed a positive scoping study with respect to developing the deposit to produce high purity manganese sulphate for lithium ion battery cathodes as well as Electrolytic Manganese Metal for use in certain specialty steels.
A PFS is currently being completed and is expected to further confirm the commercial potential of the Project.
The Project straddles the Great Northern Highway and the Goldfields Gas Pipeline providing turnkey logistics and energy solutions. The Company is also intending to integrate renewable energy into the power solution to minimise the carbon intensity of the Project as well as further reducing energy costs.