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EFA gives tentative backing to Dubbo

28th June 2021

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Export Finance Australia (EFA) has conditionally offered financial support to secure A$200-million in debt funding for the Dubbo rare earths project, in New South Wales, being developed by ASX-listed Australian Strategic Materials (AMS).

The EFA has advised AMS that it will commence detailed due diligence of the Dubbo project, in line with the agency’s mandate to support Australian projects with targeted debt solutions to supplement private market finance.

The development of the one-million-tonne-a-year Dubbo rare earths project has previously been estimated to cost A$1.29-billion to develop, with an additional A$124-million in sustaining capital required over the 20-year operating life.

The modular development option would see the project being developed in 500 000 t/y stages, with Stage 1 requiring a A$808-million investment, and Stage 2 a A$692-million investment.

The project would produce a suite of rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium materials.

“The critical metals we will produce from the Dubbo project are all in high demand for a suite of modern industrial applications, including energy efficient technologies, electric vehicles, aerospace, defence and telecommunications,” said ASM MD David Woodall.

“We are developing an integrated mine-to-metals business, which will be unique in that we will take all project products from the mine and manufacture them at our Korean and global metal plants into critical metals, alloys and powders that can be used directly in high-tech industries.”

Woodall pointed out that the project was ready for construction, with all major state and federal approvals and licences in place.

“Our discussions with potential offtake, equity and financing partners in the Dubbo project have been very positive and are continuing. We look forward to updating the market as this progresses,” he said.

EFA’s support would be subject to the outcome of the due diligence, as well as a number of other conditions, including securing offtake commitments for the metal products, the execution of a lump-sum turnkey fixed date contract with an engineering contractor, finalising the project’s funding plan, and the project receiving all necessary approvals.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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