At least 450 jobs will be created in outback NSW for the $1 billion Dubbo Zirconia Project as it overcomes its final hurdle.
Minister for Industry Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts said that the Environment Protection Authority has granted the project an Environmental Protection License to Alkane Resources. This was done after the company was granted a Mining Lease back in December 2015 after they met with the government’s demanding approval process.
“Known as the Dubbo Zirconia Project, the mine will produce up to 30,000 tonnes of specialty metals and rare earths per year which are highly sought after to support modern technology and life as we know it today.
The Dubbo Zirconia Project will provide enormous benefits locally, to the State and indeed Australia.” – Minister Anthony Roberts
Image source: Australian Resources
With China currently producing more than 90 per cent of the world’s rare earths supply and an increasing output (about 70-80 per cent) of the world’s zirconium production, the project is set to provide enormous benefits locally and has significant potential to stimulate exports across the globe.
“Customers from around the globe – the United States, Japan and a number of European nations – consider the products of this project to be a critical and strategic importance.” – Minister Anthony Roberts
This massive investment in the region and the effects that this project will have on the local economy was greatly welcomed by Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant.
“More than $1 billion will be invested in the project and about $50 million spent in the Dubbo region each year.” – Deputy Premier Troy Grant
According to Deputy Premier Troy Grant, 450 people will be employed during the construction phase of the project as well as 250 more once it starts its operation. He said that this exciting project will not only be a blessing for Dubbo, but to the entire state and the whole of Australia.
The value of rare earths and metals
Rare earths and metals are valuable due to their range of uses in modern and green technologies. Their uses include the production of components for computers and mobile devices, hybrid cars, the minimisation of emissions and stronger, lighter steel. These materials also have transport and medical uses.
The list of elements that the Dubbo Zirconia Project will produce include zirconium, hafnium, niobium, light rare earths as well as heavy rare earths.
The rare metal elements can be used to improve the safety of the next generation of jet aircrafts by helping them travel through clouds of volcanic ash. The different metals can be used as thermal barrier coating which will be added to alloys in turbine blades and engine components allowing the blades to withstand extreme heat. They will also be able to help prevent metal deterioration caused by foreign materials or external stresses as well as help increase the efficiency of the blades in high temperatures.
“The Dubbo Zirconia Project is a prime example of what discoveries may be made in NSW. During the past decade, junior explorers have been punching above their weight and are responsible for 81 per cent of deposits unearthed in the State.” – Minister Anthony Roberts
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Author's note: Information on this post was sourced from Queensland Mining & Energy Bulletin