PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian government has renewed the Major Project status of the Nolans rare earths project, in the Northern Territory, for a further three years.
Project owner Arafura Resource son Friday said that the renewal of the Major Project status coincided with the grant of the Nolans mineral lease by the Northern Territory government earlier this month, for an initial 25-year period, and the company’s formal submission to the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission, which is tasked with developing strategies to accelerate the progress of investment-ready long-life critical mineral projects.
“As Australia plots a path to economic recovery following the challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m pleased the Australian government continues to show strong support for Nolans by renewing Major Project status,” said Arafura MD Gavin Lockyer.
“Nolans is a substantial critical minerals and advanced materials development opportunity that will support the economy of central Australia for decades to come. It represents a unique opportunity for Australia to diversify the rare earth 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 neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) rare earth oxide product provides customers in the e-mobility and clean energy sectors with a clear line of sight to source raw materials for their magnet applications.”
Major Project status allows a single entry point for a range of Australian government coordination services, including helping to map out the project’s commercial compliance obligations, and assisting in identifying suitable government employment and training programmes to support the company’s efforts in delivering jobs and investment opportunities.
The A$1-billion Nolans project is expected to deliver 293 000 t/y of concentrate, containing 4 357 t/y NdPr oxide, 135 808 t/y of phosphoric acid and 13 343 t/y total rare-earth oxide equivalent over a mine life of 33 years.