Arafura locks in all-important native title agreement for Nolans
Special Report: Arafura has executed the crucial native title agreement for its Nolans neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) project in the Northern Territory.
In-principle agreement was reached in late February but COVID-19 travel restrictions meant that the April meeting of the Central Land Council – its first full meeting in 2020 – was cancelled, preventing the agreement from being presented for approval.
Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU) says the signing of the agreement facilitates the grant of the project’s minerals leases by the Northern Territory government.
The leases will host the mine, process plant, tailings and process residues containment facilities, accommodation village, borefield and the infrastructure components for the project.
Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby intends to grant the leases to Arafura for an initial term of 25 years with multiple renewal periods possible.
Nolans has a reserve of 29.5 million tonnes grading 2.9 per cent total rare earth oxides.
Critically, the high-demand and valuable NdPr makes up 26.4 per cent of the rare earths content.
NdPr is required for the manufacture of ultra-strong rare earth permanent magnets that are essential components of motors used in electric vehicles (EV) and offshore wind turbines.
“I wish to extend my appreciation to native title holders and the CLC for their work in negotiating and executing the Native Title Agreement,” managing director Gavin Lockyer said.
“We look forward to developing the Nolans project with the support and participation of native title holders and for the mutual benefit of all parties.”
The native title agreement comes on the back of the company completing a $7m placement earlier this month after it was approached by a number of domestic and offshore institutions.
This funding supports the belief that the company can benefit from the increasing focus on critical mineral supply security.