PERTH (miningweekly.com) – An updated feasibility study into the Nolans neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) project, in the Northern Territory, has refined the project’s economics, given the increase in rare earth prices.
The updated feasibility study estimated that over a mine life of 38 years, the project would produce 4 440 t/y of NdPr ozide and 474 t/y of heavy rare earth oxide, as well as 144 393 t/y of phosphoric acid.
The project is expected to require a capital investment of A$1.05-billion, and will generate annual sales revenue of A$534-million from rare earth sales, and A$79-million a year from phosphoric acid sales.
Operating costs have been estimated at A$46.60/kg NdPr, with the project’s aftertax net present value estimated at A$34.06-million and its internal rate of return estimated at 1 402%.
“The feasibility study update confirms Nolans as a shovel-ready world class NdPr rare earths project with ultra-low operating costs and the capacity to deliver robust financial returns over an initial mine life nearing 40 years, and it will provide an important tool with which to progress discussions on financing and offtake towards a successful close,” said Arafura MD Gavin Lockyer.
He said that following the non-binding letter of support from Export Finance Australia for a A$200-million facility, the company was looking forward to securing binding senior debt terms with the aim of taking a final investment decision on the Nolans project by August next year.
“The size of the Nolans deposit will provide our customers security of supply for their critical raw materials and our ore-to-oxide at a single site provides provenance that their product is being derived from processes aligned with their environmental and social governance priorities,” said Lockyer.