The results form part of a greenhouse gas assessment, which sustainability consultant ERM Group has just completed at the lithium play, evaluating its mining, power, haulage and downstream processing operations.
Core commissioned the assessment as part of its broader push towards greater environmental, social and governance transparency.
Moving ahead, ERM Group will complete a life cycle analysis and sustainability assessment across the Finniss lithium asset.
A push towards greater sustainability transparency
Core Lithium managing director Stephen Biggins said: “Core Lithium has always been aware of the inherent environmental, social and infrastructure advantages associated with the Finniss Lithium Project.
“Work performed to date by ERM Group supports the company’s push towards greater sustainability transparency and greater focus is being placed on improving the company’s relatively low-carbon footprint.
"Core Lithium is actively assessing further optimisation opportunities associated with lower energy use, renewable energy alternatives and investigating other innovative approaches to further reducing its carbon footprint and its push towards sensible Social and Environmental responsibilities.”
Greenhouse gas assessment
Ultimately, ERM’s assessment indicates the Finniss Lithium Project has lower Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions relative to its WA peers on average of the first five years of production.
The assessment evaluated estimated Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions associated with all operations at the mine, consisting of land clearing, fuel consumption, electricity usage and blasting.
It also considered Scope 3 emissions, including transport of products and consumables, business travel and employee commutes.
Scope 1 and 2 were calculated using the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting emission estimation methodology issued by the Australian Government in 2017, while Scope 3 emissions were estimated using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol set out by the UK government last year.
The assessment identified that the Finniss Lithium Project aligns well when compared on an emission intensity level — measuring the total emissions per tonne of product produced — to published emission intensities for other spodumene concentrate production facilities in Western Australia for Scope 1 and 2.
This comparison is further improved when Scope 3 emissions are included in the assessment due to the limited distance to transport the spodumene concentrate product from the site to the refining facilities.
Lowering Finniss’ carbon footprint
As ERM continues to complete its assessments, including an evaluation that spans the course of Finniss’ 7.5-year mine life and an environmental study, Core is committed to finding new ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
In fact, this is part of the reason the Finniss Lithium Project site will undergo significant revegetation as part of the development and rehabilitation strategy.
So far, the company has undertaken a preliminary study on potential pumped hydropower energy storage for the first open-pit mine at the Finniss Lithium Project.
Core is also considering other development options linked to renewable energy generation and electric vehicle use.