Australian base metal and coal mining firm South32 has signed a land access agreement to mine in the eastern leases of Groote Eylandt island and begin exploration in its southern areas.
As part of the project, South32's Groote Eylandt Mining Company (Gemco) signed the agreement with Groote Eylandt land owners and the Anindilyakwa Land Council.
The latest agreement will secure the future of a partnership and ensures Gemco's contribution to the island's economy.
South32 Australia president and chief operating officer Ricus Grimbeek said that the company acknowledged the positive agreement negotiations.
Grimbeek: "I would like to thank the traditional owners and the Anindilyakwa Land Council who have put their trust in us to continue exploring and mining their land.
"We have enjoyed working together for more than 50 years and look forward to being a valued member of the community for many more to come."
The agreement will enable manganese producer Gemco to convert high-value resources into reserves, identify new areas with exploration potential and further develop its existing operations.
By gaining access to the eastern leases, the company will be in a position to mine new areas within its existing operating area.
In addition, access to the southern areas will also increase the company's exploration footprint.
Gemco is located in Australia's Northern Territory and is 60% owned by South32 and 40% by Anglo American.
It is an open-cut strip mining operation, which includes crushing, screening, washing and dense media separation.