The federal government has approved “major project status” for a mining project worth $560 million near Broken Hill.
Cobalt Blue’s project is projected to produce almost 17,000 tonnes of high quality cobalt sulphate a year — a critical mineral used in the manufacture of lithium ion batteries that help power items such as smartphones, electric vehicles and solar panels.
Parkes MP Mark Coulton visited Broken Hill on Wednesday to formally announce “major project status” for Cobalt Blue’s plans, which is the federal government’s formal recognition of a project’s national significance.
He said it was a very exciting project.
“The world [is] changing and looking to newer technologies,” he said.
“Not only in the production of batteries for electric vehicles but also in the production of alloys that we will be relying upon with this technologic revolution that’s taking place at the moment.
“The interesting part about the world’s push to go to lower emissions, and Australia’s commitment to net-zero emissions, is it’s actually opening up opportunities for regional Australia and it’s opening up opportunities here in Broken Hill with this project.”
Mr Coulton said the “major project status” recognition would help expedite the approvals process for the project and give a clear signal to overseas countries and markets that it had the federal government’s support.
Following the announcement, Cobalt Blue Holding’s share price was up 21.74 per cent on Wednesday morning and then 22.8 per cent by noon.
‘Unique, high tech jobs’
Cobalt Blue chief executive Joe Kaderavek said the status was a meaningful milestone.
He said it was recognition of the significance of the project to the Australian economy.
“It’s recognition of the significance of the project in the critical minerals strategy and, importantly, it’s recognition of a project that will give tremendous benefit to regional New South Wales and South Australia,” he said.
The company said in a statement to the ASX the project had “attracted strong support from numerous stakeholders including the New South Wales Government, Broken Hill City Council and the Foundation Broken Hill”.
The company also said it was “undertaking exploration and development programs on the Broken Hill Cobalt Project”.
Mr Kaderavek said the project would also create about 400 full-time jobs.
“Over 150 of that 400 will be involved in advanced metallurgical and processing jobs. These are jobs that don’t exist in Australia,” he said.
“In the case of the final part of the refining, they’re jobs that don’t exist in the Southern Hemisphere. They’re truly unique, high tech jobs that will be done right here in Broken Hill.”