The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has finalised its environmental approval for the hydrometallurgical plant of the Hastings Technology Metals Ltd’s Yangibana Rare Earths Project, in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.
DAWE has given Hastings approval to proceed with constructing the Onslow Rare Earths Plant at the Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area (ANSIA), approximately 15km south-west of the coastal town of Onslow.
The Onslow Rare Earths Plant will perform the hydrometallurgical processing of rare earths oxide concentrate from Yangibana into mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) containing high levels of neodymium and praseodymium concentrate (NdPr). NdPr are vital components used to manufacture permanent magnets that are required in advanced technology products ranging from electric vehicles to wind turbines, robotics, medical applications and digital devices.
ANSIA has been identified by the WA Government as a location suitable for strategic industrial developments, a position now further endorsed by the DAWE approval for Yangibana. Construction of the hydrometallurgical plant is due to begin in 2022, after the completion of early works at Yangibana mine site and in line with Hastings’ target to produce its first MREC in early 2024.
Hastings Technology Metals Executive Chairman Charles Lew said the environmental approval will enable the construction of the Onslow Rare Earths Plant, which will have a full production rate of 15,000 tonnes of MREC per annum, unlocking the high-quality and NdPr-rich rare earths carbonate from Yangibana.
“Importantly, the Commonwealth approval is another positive step in Hastings’ journey to become Australia’s next rare earth producer.
Debt financing talks are advancing well and are expected to conclude before the end of this year. Early stage civil works at the Yangibana mine site are in progress.