NT Govt approvals pushes Nolans Project towards construction

Monica Gameng   |   November 19, 2022
Arafura project site (cr: ABC News)

The Northern Territory Government has approved the Mining Management Plan (MMP) for the Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project. 

Along with the MMP, the Territory Government has also issued Mining Authorisation that provides the final environmental approval to get construction going on the Nolans Project. 

The Mining Authorisation will enable Arafura Rare Earths Limited to begin mining, construction and operation of the Nolans Project. 

Both the MMP and the Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) outline how Arafura can fulfill the conditions of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) in key areas, including: 

  • Biodiversity 
  • Water Management 
  • Radiation 
  • Tailings Storage 
  • Erosion and Sediment Control 
  • Dust and Noise 
  • Cultural Heritage 
  • Mine Closure and Rehabilitation 

This environmental approval completes the final stage of the NT environmental approval process. Arafura is still currently awaiting Federal approvals as well as an NT water extraction license. 

“This approval validates the enormous amount of hard work undertaken since ramping up the Environmental Impact Studies in 2014. It provides the framework, along with our ESG commitment to transparency and openness, that will ensure we minimise the impact of the Nolans Project on the unique Central Australian Arid Zone environment. 

“This approval, following the recent Hyundai/Kia Offtake Agreement and Project Update, adds to the momentum that should allow Arafura to commence procurement and construction, with FID (Financial Investment Decision) expected to occur in early 2023,” Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer said. 

Nolans_project_location_new_colours_vvProject location (source: Arafura Rare Earths Limited)

Previously, the company announced that it has signed a binding offtake agreement with South Korean company Hyundai Motor Company. This agreement will get Arafura to supply NdPr from the Nolans Project to Hyundai over a period of seven years, with an option to extend a further five years by mutual agreement. 

Initial supply – expected to begin in 2025 – will be at 600 tonnes per year and will increase to 1,500 tonnes by the fourth year as production at the Nolans Project ramp up. 

“The Territory Labor Government is working very hard to make the Northern Territory the best place for exploration and mining investment in Australia. 

“Today’s announcement is another huge step forward for the Nolans Project in securing a Final Investment Decision, supporting our plan for the NT to become a globally-significant producing, processing and manufacturing centre for critical minerals,” Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said. 

The Nolans Project is located about 135 kilometres north of Alice Springs and it will comprise of a mine, processing plant – including beneficiation, extraction and separation plants – as well as related infrastructure. 

Approximately 620 jobs are expected to be supported during the construction phase – projected to start in early 2023 – and about 280 full-time ongoing jobs once the mine is up and running. 

“Today’s milestone is great news for the Northern Territory, great news for local jobs and great news for the environment. 

“The Northern Territory is rich in resources and we are on track to deliver a $40 billion economy by 2030, as we become a world class supplier of critical minerals. 

“Today’s announcements shows Arafura’s rare earths project in Central Australia is strategically important for global supply chains and electric vehicles,” Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison said. 

Source: Arafura Rare Earths Limited (1, 2); Australian Mining; Northern Territory Government Newsroom; The West Australian 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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