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Emerging rare earths company Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU) has announced it will build its Nolans separation plant on the existing project site in the Northern Territory.

Originally slated to be built in South Korea, careful environmental, economic and operational reviews have supported Arafura’s decision to incorporate the separation plant with the mine and other processing facilities at Nolans, which sits just off the Stuart Highway, around 135km north-northwest of Alice Springs.

“Our engagement with customers indicates a growing focus on the provenance of rare earth supply being sustainable and managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” managing director Gavin Lockyer said.

“Undertaking all our processing and refining at the project site in the Northern Territory allows us to tick those boxes.”

The separation plant, which hosts the final stages of rare earth processing, takes a mixed rare earth intermediate product and refines it into high-value Neodymium Praseodymium (NdPr) oxide and other rare earth products.

The move attracted the attention of Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner, who told The Australian Mining Review that his government had been working with Arafura throughout the year to secure the plant for the territory.

“Creating local jobs is the Territory government’s number one priority,” Mr Gunner said.

“This announcement is a significant vote of investor confidence in the Northern Territory and will contribute to the creation of around 500 construction jobs with 350-370 jobs during operations across the project.

“This is a game-changer for the Territory as it positions Central Australia as a leader in clean energy supply chains, plus it represents the first time industry will now have the capacity to value-add processing to mineral resources.”

NdPr is used in the manufacture of high-strength permanent magnets that are used in the automotive industry for electronic components such as seats, mirrors, wipers, steering and braking, as well as in the traction motors of hybrid and electric vehicles.

“We are very pleased to have settled on the site for the project’s Separation Plant,” Mr Lockyer said.

“This makes Nolans a 100 percent Australian domiciled project and unlocks significant value prior to product export.

“Nolans will soon represent a new long-term, secure supply of 3,600 tonnes of NdPr oxide each year, and building the Separation Plant at the project site will bring additional benefits to the Northern Territory and in particular the Central Australian region.”


This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Arafura Resources. This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.