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

The WA Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has approved open-pit mining operations at Mt Ida.

In March this year, Delta submitted a mining proposal and mine closure plan to the DMIRS, in relation to open-pit mining operations at the WA-based lithium project.

The approval, together with other permissions, such as the Native Vegetation Clearance Permit and 5C Water Extraction Licence, will allow the company to begin open-pit mining operations.

Delta said that the approval is an important part of its strategy for the first phase of mine development and further de-risks the development of the concentrate project.

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.”

The Mt Ida lithium project is located in the historical Mt Ida gold mining district, around 100km northwest of Menzies, in Western Australia, and comprises 30 tenements.

Delta acquired the operation in September 2021 and immediately commenced an aggressive exploration programme.

With the regulatory approval of open-pit mining, it is now well positioned to exploit the shallow gold ore that is overlying lithium ore, said the Australian mining company.

Currently, Delta is conducting detailed technical work, based on the recent Lithium MRE update and the maiden Gold MRE.