Arafura Rare Earths Pty Ltd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arafura Resources Limited – has been granted mineral leases by the Northern Territory Government, paving the way for the development of the Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project.
“This significant milestone brings us one step closer to a final investment decision at a time when critical minerals, such as rare earths, are in growing demand around the world,” Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer said.
The mineral leases will have an initial term of 25 years and will cover the development of the Nolans mine and process plant as well as waste storage facilities and accommodation village.
The granting of mineral leases for the Nolans Project follows the awarding of a Major Project status by the State Government and the signing of an agreement with the Anmatyerr Native Title Holders that will allow access for the project earlier this year.
“The Native Title Agreement and granting of the mineral leases will provide investors with a major confidence boost that the project is ready to proceed, subject to finance.
“We will soon lodge a Mining Management Plan which outlines how we will operate and ultimately close the project, and comply with mining regulations,” Mr Lockyer said.
Project location (source: Arafura Resources Limited)
The Nolans Project – located about 135 kilometres north of Alice Springs – will have an initial operational life of about 33 to 39 years. During its operations, it is expected to deliver significant economic and employment opportunities to Central Australia together with secondary economic development through enhanced logistics capacity in Alice Springs.
The project is expected to create up to 650 jobs during its 30-month construction phase and a further 280 jobs once operational. These opportunities will be extended to the Anmatyerr people with Native Title rights to the land near Aileron – which will be granted through jobs, training and economic development pathways.
“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is jobs for Territorians, especially in regional and remote areas like Central Australia.
“The Territory mining industry is already the largest source of revenue to the Territory economy, but the potential for growth in the sector is well known and is being realised,” Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby said.
Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr) are currently in demand for environmentally friendly, high-tech applications including magnets for electric vehicles, mobile phones, wind turbines and medical equipment.
“The Nolans rare earths project has the potential to make the NT a major global producer of critical materials in revolutionary, eco-friendly tech components and products,” Minister Kirby said.
Construction and mine development are anticipated to commence in 2021, once authorisation under the Mining Management Act 2001 has been obtained and a mining management plan is approved.