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Eneabba rare earths refinery, Australia

Image of mounds of rare earths

23rd February 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Eneabba rare earths refinery.

Location
Eneabba, Australia.

Project Owner/s
Iluka Resources.

Project Description
Eneabba is the highest-grade rare earths operation globally.

It comprises Iluka’s stockpile of the rare-earth-bearing minerals monazite and xenotime, as well as the company’s Phase 1 (screening) and Phase 2 (concentrating) plant.

Phase 3 (refinery) will build on this existing operation to deliver a significant downstream infrastructure asset comprising roasting, leaching, purification, solvent extraction and product finishing.

Iluka’s refinery will produce the high-value rare-earth oxides neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

The refinery will have a feed capacity of 55 000 t/y to produce 17 500 t/y of total rare-earth oxide and will initially be fed from the Eneabba stockpile. Potential future sources of feedstock include Iluka’s Wimmera operation and other deposits, as well as third parties.

Potential Job Creation
The project will have a construction workforce of about 300 people and an operational workforce of about 270 people.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Between A$1.7-billion and A$1.8-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The refinery commissioning is scheduled for 2026.

Latest Developments
Iluka Resources confirmed a major cost overrun at its Eneabba rare earths refinery on February 21, stating that the project would cost between A$1.7-billion and A$1.8-billion.

This is at the top-end of the A$1.5-billion to A$1.8-billion guidance range provided in December, when the company first flagged a cost blowout.

“Inflation has affected nearly all major resources projects in Western Australia in recent times and Eneabba has not been immune,” MD Tom O’Leary has said.

According to an article in the Financial Review, Iluka is in talks with the Australian government to “come to a pathway to deliver the refinery”.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Fluor Corporation – Mining & Metals (engineering, procurement and construction management).

Contact Details for Project Information
Iluka group manager, investor relations and corporate affairs Luke Woodgate, tel +61 8 9360 4785 or email luke.woodgate@iluka.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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