Rare earths company Hastings Technology Metals Ltd, headquartered in Perth, Australia, has announced that the Australian Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has finalised environmental approval for the construction of the Onslow Rare Earths Plant, a hydrometallurgical plant, which will be located at the Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area (ANSIA), near the coastal town of Onslow.
The Onslow Rare Earths Plant will perform the hydrometallurgical processing of rare earth oxide concentrate from Hasting’s Yangibana Rare Earths Project, located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, into mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) containing high levels of neodymium and praseodymium concentrate (NdPr). NdPr is vital in the manufacture of the permanent magnets that are required in advanced technology products, ranging from electric vehicles to wind turbines, robotics, medical and digital devices.
Charles Lew, Hastings Technology Metals’ Executive Chairman, stated, “This is a significant milestone for our Yangibana Rare Earths Project and further endorses Hastings’ decision last year to decouple the processing plant from the Yangibana mine site. The commonwealth environmental approval will allow Hastings to construct the Onslow Rare Earths Plant for a full production rate of 15,000 tonnes of MREC per annum, unlocking the high-quality and NdPr-rich rare earths carbonate that we will produce at Yangibana.”
“Importantly, the commonwealth approval is another positive step in Hastings’ journey to become Australia’s next rare earth producer,” he continued. “Debt financing talks are advancing well and scheduled for conclusion before the end of this year and early stage civil works at the Yangibana mine site are in progress.”
Construction of the hydrometallurgical plant is scheduled to begin in 2022 after the completion of early works at the Yangibana mine site, in line with Hastings’ target to produce its first MREC in early 2024.