Arafura Resources engages Hatch for Nolans rare earths project
Arafura Resources Ltd. has appointed Hatch as lead engineering study manager for the definitive feasibility study (DFS) on its Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in Australia’s Northern Territory. The Nolans Bore deposit, the project’s cornerstone asset, is one of the largest and most intensively explored rare earths deposits in the world.
There are seventeen rare earth elements with characteristics that many high-tech devices—cellular telephones, wind turbines, and electric and hybrid vehicles—need today. Their specialized properties are critical to consumer goods, clean energy products, defense technologies, and industrial automation.
Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer said that progressing the DFS is a major milestone for the Nolans project. “Once that has been achieved, Arafura will be one of the few companies worldwide in a position to make a final investment decision on the development of an NdPr project in what we anticipate to be a rising price environment for our products. We look forward to this outcome and are thrilled to have appointed such a high-calibre lead engineer to assist us.”
Just 135 kilometres north of the town of Alice Springs, the Nolans project will position Arafura as a long-term secure supplier of NdPr to the permanent magnet sector. According to Arafura, the project could potentially support mining and processing operations for 30 to 35 years or more.
“We are very pleased to be supporting Arafura in developing the Nolans project into an operational asset,” said Philippe Felton, Associate at Hatch. “To keep pace with technological advancements, there is a growing need for new suppliers of rare earths, particularly NdPr. The Nolans project is strategically important to the global market and aligns with our vision of creating a better world through positive change.”
It is anticipated that the Nolans project will produce:
- 14,000 tpa of total rare earth oxides, including 3,600 tpa of NdPr Oxide, 2,660 tpa La Oxide, 660 tpa SEG HRE Oxide and 7,100 tpa of Ce Hydroxide
- 110,000 tpa of (54%) Phosphoric Acid (MGA) as a by-product.
Nolans has been granted major project status by both the Northern Territory and Australian governments, and the project is in the final stages of securing environmental approval.
The feasibility study will include detailed engineering, procurement engineering, and support and construction execution planning. Results of the study are expected to be available later in 2018.
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