Mining Authorisation puts Arafura on the home stretch for Nolans development
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Arafura has crossed a key hurdle to the development of its neodymium-praseodymium Nolans Project after receiving Mining Authorisation from the Northern Territory Government.
The authorisation, which comes with the NT Government’s approval of the Project’s Mining Management Plan, provides the final environmental approval that all but clears the way for construction to start in early 2023.
All that remains to be approved are a small number of Environmental Management Plans (EMP) under the Federal EPBC Act and a Northern Territory water extraction licence.
In addition, Arafura Rare Earths Limited (ASX:ARU) has committed to continue improving the parameters as knowledge of the specific environment at the Nolans Project site increases.
“This approval validates the enormous amount of hard work undertaken since ramping up the Environmental Impact Studies in 2014,” managing director Gavin Lockyer said.
“It provides the framework, along with our ESG commitment to transparency and openness, that will ensure we minimise the impact of the Nolans Project on the unique Central Australian Arid Zone environment.
“This approval, following the recent Hyundai/Kia Offtake Agreement and Project Update, adds to the momentum that should allow Arafura to commence procurement and construction, with FID expected to occur in early 2023.”
The Mining Authorisation allows the company to mine, construct and operate the Nolans Project while delivering formal approval of the Mining Management Plan and EMP.
These outline in detail how it will meet the approval conditions of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority across a number of areas such as biodiversity, water management, erosion and sediment control, cultural heritage and tailings storage.
Arafura’s flagship Nolans Project, located 135km north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, currently has a resource of 56Mt at 2.6% total rare earth oxides (TREO) and 11% phosphate with more than half of this, or 29.5Mt at 2.9% TREO and 13% phosphate, already defined as an Ore Reserve that can be mined economically.
More than a quarter of the REE is valuable NdPr, enough in fact to underpin production of about 4,440 tpa of NdPr oxide along with 474 tpa of heavy rare earths oxide and 144,393 tpa of phosphoric acid for 38 years from a single pit.
This represents about 5% of current global demand.
Production is expected to start in 2025 subject to project financing, completion of construction and development and commissioning of the Project.
The company recently signed a binding offtake agreement with Hyundai and Kia, who agreed to purchase 600 tonnes of NdPr in the first year of production before increasing to 1,500tpa when Nolans achieves nameplate production capacity in the fourth year.
In its recent project update, Arafura also reported strong progress with other prospective offtake partners, including GE Renewable Energy, and continuation of its offtake strategy of targeting original equipment manufacturers from regions with supportive Export Credit Agencies.
This article was developed in collaboration with Arafura Resources, 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.