National major project status renewal highlights importance of Arafura’s Nolans project
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Special Report: The strategic significance of Arafura’s Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) project in the NT has been recognised with the renewal of its Major Project Status.
This provides a single point of entry for a range of Australian Government coordination services such as assistance with mapping out its commercial compliance obligations and suitable employment and training programs.
Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU) noted that Nolans will now receive ongoing focused support the Australian Government’s Major Projects Facilitation Agency (MPFA).
The renewal comes barely a week after it received the key development leases that secures the Nolans resource for an initial 25 years with multiple renewal periods possible.
“Nolans is a substantial critical minerals and advanced materials development opportunity that will support the economy of Central Australia for decades to come,” managing director Gavin Lockyer said.
“It represents a unique opportunity for Australia to diversify the rare earths supply chain, increase advanced materials manufacturing, and potentially seed new high technology downstream industries from one of the world’s safest and most secure jurisdictions.
“Our plan to produce a highly refined NdPr rare earth oxide product provides customers in the e-mobility and clean energy sectors with a clear line of sight to the source raw material for their magnet applications.”
He added the company looked forward to continuing its engagement with the MPFA and other Australian agencies to position Nolans to play a key role in addressing the gaps in critical minerals supply chains that have been highlighted by COVID-19 related disruptions.
Nolans has a 33-year mine life on a reserve of 29.5 million tonnes grading 2.9 per cent total rare earth oxides. High demand and valuable NdPr makes up 26.4 per cent of the rare earths content.
NdPr is used in the manufacture of neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets that are used in practically all offshore wind power turbines and are also common in the motors of electric vehicles.
Arafura has largely completed pre-front end engineering and design activities for the Nolans project and has selected the Clough Worley joint venture as the preferred contractor for the hydrometallurgical plant design and construction.
It has also started work on updating project capital and operating costs as well as financial outcomes.
Notably, the company’s market engagement has confirmed that export credit agencies will be looking to assist well-structed projects and NdPr supply aligned with critical raw material supply chains.