Australian heavy rare earths producer, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) has released its activities report for the three months to March. Highlights include a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Dazzler deposit, completion of a $20 million placement and dysprosium prices up by 20 per cent.
Australian heavy rare earths producer, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) has released its activities report for the three months to March.
· Maiden Mineral Resource estimate for the Dazzler deposit at a grade that is more than three times the average for Browns Range
· Pilot plant at Browns Range is continuing to assess the technical and economic feasibility of a full-scale commercial operation
· Browns Range access road has been added to the Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List
· Dysprosium price increased by 20% during the March quarter
· Placement to sophisticated investors to raise $20 million before costs
· Subsequent to the Quarter, a further $15 million will be raised to help paydown the loan on the R&D
· The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) agreed to release 50% ($10.78 million) of the Company’s claim for retained research and development (R&D) refundable tax offset in relation to the 2017/18 tax year
Browns Range Project Update
The Company has constructed and is operating a pilot scale project aimed at assessing the technical and economic feasibility of a full-scale commercial operation. The testwork program has commenced and first pilot plant production of rare earth carbonate was achieved in the December quarter 2018.
At the end of the March 2019 quarter, a total of 28,068kg of Rare Earth Carbonate had been produced to test the pilot plant operation and to collect data to feed back into the processing flowsheet.
The Company will continue to ramp up output from the pilot plant to steady state to assess the quality of the rare earth carbonate produced. The Company expects that incremental steps will be made from new knowledge from the testwork program to adjust both the rate of production and the quality of product.
The Browns Range access road has been included as one of the priorities in the Infrastructure Priority List recently published by Infrastructure Australia. Infrastructure Australia is an independent statutory body that is the key source of research and advice for governments, industry and the community on nationally significant infrastructure needs.
Infrastructure Australia has a mandate to prioritise and progress nationally significant infrastructure investments. Following the drill program conducted in the September 2018 quarter, the results of which were reported to the ASX on 11 September 2018, the Company announced a maiden Mineral Resource estimate for the high-grade Dazzler deposit.