Arafura Resources’ Nolans project in NT. Source: ABC
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  • Arafura Resources Limited (ARU) has been awarded Federal Government grant funding of $30 million 
  • Funding will contribute to the construction of a $90.8m rare earth separation plant at its Nolans project in the Northern Territory
  • The funding is part of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which aims to develop Australia as a regional resources technology and critical minerals processing hub 
  • The Nolans separation plant will be the first of its kind in Australia and the second outside China
  • There is the potential for hub processing opportunities to be developed for the processing of other rare earth-rich feedstock
  • Arafura shares were flat at 19.5 cents in early trade

Arafura Resources Limited (ARU) has been awarded grant funding of $30 million under the Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

This funding will contribute to constructing a $90.8m rare earth separation plant at its Nolans project north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

The $1.3 billion MMI forms part of the Government’s Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing Roadmap to develop Australia as a regional resources technology and critical minerals processing hub within 10 years.

The MMI funding continues to build on broad government and export partner support for Nolans.

The grant awarded to Arafura falls under the MMI’s Collaboration Stream, which provides funding to a small number of transformational projects that will create and facilitate collaborative ecosystems.

Nolans, 135km north of Alice Springs, is Australia’s only shovel-ready neodymium- praseodymium (NdPr) project.

Arafura describes it as a globally significant development with the potential to supply around 5 per cent of world NdPr oxide demand, with an ore-to-oxide business model that will see downstream processing established locally and enable Australia to play a leading role in the diversification of critical raw materials.

The Nolans separation plant will be the first of its kind in Australia and the second outside China, producing separated rare earth oxides and enabling the development of diversified rare earth supply chains.

Following the construction of the separation plant, the company sees potential for hub processing opportunities to be developed for the processing of other rare earth-rich feedstock, enabling the benefits of infrastructure investment and local jobs to be further dispersed.

“This grant is an exciting milestone for Arafura, recognising the strategic significance of the Nolans project and its place in the future of critical minerals processing in Australia,” Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer said.

“Australia has a window of opportunity to invest in strategically important rare earths projects such as Nolans and maximise the clean energy revolution’s local jobs and investment benefits.”

Nolans gained Major Project status from the Northern Territory Government in 2020 and signed a joint statement of cooperation with Korean Government agency KOMIR, which facilitates access to the Korean market.

Arafura is targeting a Final Investment Decision for Nolans in the second half of 2022, with detailed front-end engineering and design, offtake and project funding activities.

Arafura Resources shares were in the grey, trading at 19.5 cents early today.

ARU by the numbers
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