PERTH (miningweekly.com) − ASX-listed Arafura Resources has finalised its purchase agreement with OneSteel Manufacturing to secure a site for its Whyalla rare earths complex, in South Australia.
Arafura and OneSteel signed an exclusivity deed to negotiate a formal sale agreement in September. Since that time, Arafura has had access to the site to undertake detailed engineering and environmental studies.
Last month, the South Australian government released environmental-impact-statement (EIS) guidelines for the proposed Whyalla project, which would assist in the development of the environmental studies.
The Whyalla complex, which was granted major project status by the South Australian government, will process minerals concentrate from the Nolans project, in the Northern Territory.
The complex will comprise a series of chemical plants and a processing plant, where chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid would leach out the rare earths, phosphate and uranium, for ultimate recovery and sale.
Arafura MD and CEO Steve Ward said that the signing of the agreement with OneSteel marked an important milestone in the development of the Nolans rare earths projects, and assisted in cementing Arafura’s position as one of the very few near-term producers of rare earths.
“Whyalla is a key part of Arafura’s business model which is to add value to resources in Australia and produce rare-earth oxides for users worldwide using production processes developed in Australia.”
Ward noted that the company would now continue to progress work in the EIS approval process.