Arafura has received another boost from the Federal Government with two key ministers expressing their support for its critical Nolans neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) project.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt noted in a joint letter that they welcomed the company’s proposal to establish a rare earths project in the Northern Territory.

“If executed, such a project would create regional jobs, ensure Australia captures more economic benefit from its resources and build Australia’s resilience and security in the global supply of key critical minerals – all of which are priorities for the Morrison Government,” they said in the letter.

The ministers also encourage Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU) to continue engaging with Export Finance Australia, which is proposing to provide a $200m senior debt facility for the Nolans project, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office and Austrade to progress the project.

Critical minerals a national priority

Managing director Gavin Lockyer said Arafura was continuing to see positive signs that the Australian Government was serious about supporting the development of critical minerals projects and downstream processing capacity within our borders.

“The proactive stance from Ministers Tehan and Pitt has been extremely encouraging,” Lockyer said. “For Arafura specifically, the $200m letter of support received last week from EFA was an important first step in lining up funding for Nolans.

“We remain in discussions with them, NAIF (the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility) and others as we look to formalise arrangements ahead of a Final Investment Decision in the second half of 2022.”

Projects that boost Australia’s ability to extract and process critical minerals are eligible to access dual funding through the EFA and the NAIF, as well as from other government agencies and initiatives.

Arafura has also applied for grant funding under the Federal Government’s $1.3bn Modern Manufacturing Initiative for portions of its front-end engineering and design program that relate directly to the establishment of downstream processing capabilities.

Rare earths to get rarer?

Concerns about rare earths supply were raised this year after China moved to heighten regulation of rare earths production to meet rising domestic demand and protect the strategic resource.

This has led to US and other countries such as Australia to ramp up efforts to build their own rare earths supplies, which are crucial for the manufacture of high tech products such as electric cars, wind turbines and mobile phones.



This article was developed in collaboration with Arafura 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.