Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) has hosted a site visit for the WA Premier, Mark McGowan, to the Browns Range Heavy Rare Earth Pilot Plant Project where he turned a ceremonial sod to mark preparation works commencing. Also attending the event was the Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer, representatives from the Halls Creek Shire, members of the local Jaru community and representatives from Sinosteel MECC and JFMAG.
· Premier of Western Australia Hon Mark McGowan turns ceremonial sod to mark preparation works commencing for the Browns Range Pilot Plant.
· State and local dignitaries join Northern Minerals’ Board and executive team on site to celebrate project milestone.
· Browns Range set to commence heavy rare earths production in first half of 2018 from Pilot Plant project.
Australian heavy rare earths developer, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) is pleased to announce a key milestone, with Premier of Western Australia Hon Mark McGowan today turning a ceremonial sod on site to celebrate the start of preparation works for the construction of its Browns Range Pilot Plant project.
Also at Browns Range to mark the occasion were the Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer, representatives from the Halls Creek Shire and members of the local Jaru community as well as representatives from the media.
The 100% owned project, located 160km south east of Halls Creek, will produce high value heavy rare earths (HRE), in particular dysprosium, which is used in clean energy and high technology products such as electric vehicles.
Browns Range will be the world’s first dysprosium heavy rare earth element project outside of China, making it a globally significant source of HRE, and an exciting new development for the Western Australian mining industry.
The first phase of production at Browns Range will provide proof of concept through the Pilot Plant, which is expected to operate for three years. This phase of the project will employ up to 90 people during mining and construction, and 56 full time equivalent staff on site.
The progress of site works and mining activities by bulk earthworks and mining contractor MACA Ltd are on track for the Pilot Plant. The mine plan will see 180,000 tonnes of ore campaign mined before Christmas and stockpiled for processing.
Pilot Plant components are currently being fabricated by Sinosteel MECC in China, ahead of delivery to site and installation by local contractors in September. Northern Minerals aims to commission the 72,000 tonne per annum Pilot Plant by the end of the current financial year and move into production of the 573 tonnes HRE under the scope of the Pilot Plant project.
The Pilot Plant is planned to be a stepping stone to the development of a full scale $329 million HRE project, which has been modelled over an initial life of 11 years, and is expected to produce 585,000 tonnes of high value HRE.
George Bauk, Northern Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO said:
“Action is now really ramping up around Browns Range, with mining commencing last month, contractors arriving on site to start preparation works and our processing plant modules under construction in China.
“We are very pleased to welcome Premier McGowan back to site to share this next step in the development of the project. It is a great milestone for our team, as well as for the local communities with which we have been working for a number of years.
“At full scale production, we expect the project will employ up to 250 staff on site, and we will be focussed on providing direct employment and contract opportunities for locals. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Government and local community to advance the project and the region.”