Arafura has released its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction pathway for the electrical power and steam requirements for its Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in the Northern Territory.

The chosen pathway consists of renewable sources for electrical power (solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power and batteries), combined with large-scale thermal energy storage (TES) to provide a consistent source of renewable thermal energy for steam generation – targeting 50% of project power by 2030.

The TES will be heated from concentrated solar thermal (CST), and takes advantage of:

  • Low cost of solar PV and wind power for electricity generation;
  • Large proportion of energy required as steam (roughly three times the electricity requirement); and
  • Relatively low cost of TES compared to electrical energy storage (EES).

Net zero producer of NdPr oxide

The reduction pathway of electrical power and thermal power as steam generation together account for approximately 85% of the project’s forecast emissions.

“The GHG emissions reduction pathway developed for Nolans demonstrates the viability of Arafura Rare Earths to become a net zero producer of NdPr oxide,” Arafura (ASX:ARU) MD Gavin Lockyer said.

“NdPr is critical to many of the products necessary to achieve a global net zero future, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines.

“By publicly releasing our GHG emissions reduction pathway for stationary power we are providing our customers, investors and other stakeholders with a better understanding of how we intend to meet our net zero 2050 commitments.

“As a result, the pathway will help our customers meet their own GHG emissions reduction objectives as well.”

Cost-efficient pathway to net zero

The Company says the reduction pathway is likely to reduce total energy costs over the first 14-years of production and only result in a minor increase in costs over the life of mine.

The cost outcomes for the chosen pathway include:

  • Prior to 2030 the estimated gas price equivalent cost of the chosen pathway is A$6.10 per GJ, which is less than the project’s base case gas price of $A8.34 per GJ (inclusive of transport);
  • Prior to 2040 the estimated gas price equivalent cost of the chosen pathway is A$8.20 per GJ, approximately equivalent to the use of gas (inclusive of transport); and
  • Estimated average cost of the chosen pathway over the life of mine (LOM) is equivalent to generating all energy from gas at a gas price of A$9.70 per GJ.

 

Arafura ASX ARU Net Zero
Graph: The energy cost as an equivalent gas price for the chosen pathway as a comparison to the current project base case of continued generation using natural gas at an assumed gas price of A$8.34 per GJ (inclusive of transport costs).

 

Decarbonising rare earths processing

“We recognise we will need to address a range of challenges in decarbonising rare earth processing, which is, by its nature, an energy intensive process,” Lockyer said.

“Nonetheless, the Arafura team is committed to implementing a practical, cost- efficient pathway to net zero.

“We will keep a close watch on changes in the price, technology maturity and availability of relevant technologies, such as long-duration energy storage, and update the GHG emissions reduction pathway in future if it is appropriate to do so.”

A demonstration scale, proof of concept, concentrated solar thermal system, combined with thermal energy storage, is planned prior to 2030.

 

 

 

This article was developed in collaboration with Arafura Rare Earths Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.