Australian exploration and development company Delta Lithium has secured approval for the development of its Mt Ida lithium project in Western Australia (WA).

The approval from the WA Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), as well as other key permitting already received, such as a native vegetation clearance permit and a 5C water extraction licence, allows the company to commence open-pit mining operations at the Mt Ida mine.

Delta said: “Approval of open-pit mining now positions the company to take advantage of the opportunity to exploit shallow gold ore that is overlying lithium ore.”

Delta noted that the latest approval is an important part of its strategy for the first phase of Mt Ida mine development. It also further de-risks the concentrate project development.

Delta Lithium managing director James Croser said: “With all statutory approvals for commencement of mining now received, it is accurate to say that Mt Ida is indeed shovel-ready.

“The combined lithium and gold resources present a compelling mining project. The company is now in an enviable position at Mt Ida to simultaneously progress studies on the lithium concentrate project; while also progressing discussion around deriving value from high-grade gold.”

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Currently, Delta is undertaking detailed technical work based on the recent lithium mineral resource estimate update and the maiden gold MRE.

Located in the historical Mt Ida gold mining district, around 100km north-west of Menzies, the Mt Ida lithium project comprises 30 tenements.

Delta Lithium also owns the highly prospective Yinnetharra lithium project approximately 120km north-east of Gascoyne Junction.