Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) says it remains on target to achieve first shipments from its Browns Range Heavy Rare Earths Pilot Plant Project in mid-2018.
The company reports that the first delivery of modular process pilot plant components and equipment has arrived on site at Browns Range in the East Kimberley region in WA. Installation contractor, Primero Group, has progressed concrete foundation works , ahead of this delivery and will start the process of assembling the process pilot plant shortly.
In China, Sinosteel MECC is well advanced with fabrication of the process plant modular components and equipment. The second of three main shipments is being consolidated at Shanghai port for shipping to Darwin, with the third and final shipment expected in Shanghai at the end of the month.
Process Plant components are also at wharf in Shanghai ready for second shipment.
Meanwhile MACA Limited has nearly completed the mining of ore required for the three-year Pilot Plant Project. Ore has been mined as a single campaign commencing in June, with ore stacked on the ROM pad to be drawn down over the three-year programme.
Northern Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, George Bauk, said improved mine design and scheduling has resulted in the planned ore tonnage to be mined for the Pilot Plant Project being increased from 180,000t to around 200,000t.
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“The Browns Range site is transforming every day as the project comes together. To date, we have enjoyed excellent progress on all fronts with all contractors and project teams hitting their goals,” Mr Bauk said.
“With commencement of the first delivery of equipment and modules to site this week, we remain confident of delivery of first heavy rare earth carbonate in mid-2018 as we play our part in the electric vehicle evolution.”
Through the development of its flagship project, the Browns Range Project, Northern Minerals aims to be the first significant world producer of dysprosium outside of China. The Project is 100% owned by Northern Minerals and has several deposits and prospects containing high value dysprosium and other HREs, hosted in xenotime mineralisation.
Dysprosium is an essential ingredient in the production of DyNdFeB (dysprosium neodymium iron-boron) magnets used in clean energy and high technology solutions.
The three-year R&D pilot plant project will commence first production of heavy rare earth carbonate in H1 2018. The pilot plant development provides the opportunity to gain production experience, surety of supply for our offtake partner and assess the economic and technical feasibility of the larger full-scale development.