Arafura Resources received approval from the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for its Nolans Project, after an assessment process which lasted more than two years.
The EPA found that the risks from mining at the Nolans rare earths project, including use of groundwater and discharge of radioactive material, can be effectively managed.
Concurrent with the release of this report to the Northern Territory Government’s Ministers for Environment and Natural Resources and Primary Industry, the report is also issued to the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy for its assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. It is expected that this part of the assessment will be completed in February 2018.
“Our sustainability team has worked diligently alongside our environmental consultants GHD to produce comprehensive, quality documentation to support the passage of the Nolans Project through the Northern Territory environmental approvals process”, said Arafura’s Managing Director, Gavin Lockyer.
“This should go some way to securing final government approval for the project, enabling construction to move forward, subject to financing and FID.
“Arafura is also acutely aware of the importance of community acceptance – our social licence to operate – so we will maintain a strong focus on communication and consultation on all aspects of the project,” Mr Lockyer said.
Pending final approval, Arafura Resources has the potential to become a long-term, secure supplier of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) from its 100%-owned Nolans Project.
The project, located 135 kilometres north along the Stuart Highway from the town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia, is expected to have a life of 35 to 55 years, at a design capacity of 14,000 tonnes of TREO equivalent per annum. Arafura is planning to mine up to five million tonnes each year to produce 650,000 tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) ore as feed to a three-stage crushing circuit.