Mineral leases put Arafura on the road to develop Nolans rare earths project
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Special Report: Arafura has received the all important mineral leases for its Nolans neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) project in the Northern Territory.
The award of the leases, which follow the execution of the native title agreement last month, secures the Nolans resource for an initial 25 years with multiple renewal periods possible.
Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU) says this paves way for advanced discussions with offtake and financing partners.
The leases host the proposed mine, process plant, waste storage facilities and accommodation village.
A Mining Management Plan that will allow site-based activities to begin is in the advanced stages of preparation.
“This significant milestone brings us one step closer to a final investment decision at a time when critical minerals, such as rare earths, are in growing demand around the world,” managing director Gavin Lockyer said.
“The Native Title Agreement and granting of the MLs will provide investors with a major confidence boost that the project is ready to proceed subject to finance.”
He added the company can now advance its engagement with governments as well as potential offtake, debt and project funding partners.
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.
The interest in securing rare earths supply, particularly for high-value products like NdPr, resulted in Arafura attracting an unsolicited $7m investment by a number of key domestic and offshore institutions in June.
Critical minerals projects have also recently attracted funding from the Australian Government, which has recognised their importance with the establishment of the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office in November last year.