Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) has today approved the three-year Browns Range Pilot Plant project. The $56m project is the first stage in the planned full-scale development of Browns Range. The pilot poject will be used to assess the economic viability of the full-scale operation, which is planned to make Browns Range a globally significant dysprosium producer.
Three-year pilot plant project approved by Northern Minerals’ Board
Capital cost of A$56 million, funded by a combination of equity, debt, offtake pre-payments and deferred payments
Construction to commence immediately, with 11-month build time anticipated
During the pilot plant project, Browns Range is expected to produce 148,200kg of dysprosium in 1,719,000kg of Total Rare Earth Oxide in a Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate
Australian heavy rare earths developer, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) is pleased to announce that the Board has approved the development of the 100% owned Browns Range Heavy Rare Earths Pilot Plant Project in Western Australia.
The pilot plant project will be used to assess the economic feasibility of a full-scale project and forms part of a broader ongoing feasibility underpinning the Browns Range Project.
Browns Range is one step closer to becoming Australia’s first heavy rare earths project with a focus on the production of dysprosium. Browns Range is globally significant as it could provide an alternative source of dysprosium supply outside of China. Dysprosium is a key component in the manufacture of permanent magnets, used extensively in electric motors, particularly those in high temperature applications like electric vehicles.
The Browns Range Pilot Plant Project has a capital cost of A$56 million and is planned to operate for an initial period of three years.
The pilot plant processing plant is being constructed with a throughput of 60,000 tonnes per annum for 3 years, approximately 10% of the size of the proposed full-scale development to assess, refine and confirm the optimal flowsheet.
The construction period for the project is 11 months, with first mixed rare earth carbonate production in mid-2018.
Sinosteel MECC will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of the Pilot Plant. The Pilot Plant modules will be fully constructed in the People’s Republic of China (China) and then transported and installed on site in Australia. Sinosteel MECC will be the lead contractor on site with other Australian groups sub-contracting as required.
Over the three years, the pilot plant project is expected to produce 1,719,000kg of mixed rare earth carbonate containing 148,200kg of dysprosium.
Mr George Bauk, Northern Minerals’ Managing Director, said: “Today’s decision represents a significant new chapter for the company, formed more than ten years ago.
“The pilot plant development will help us continue to assess the economic and technical feasibility of a larger full scale development. Incidentally, it also provides an opportunity to gain production experience and surety of supply for our offtake partner, and propels Northern Minerals towards being the first dysprosium producer outside China.”