Rare earth minerals have been a hot topic of discussion in the mining industry for some time now as they are expected to play a critical role in the energy transition. Australia is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries of this escalating demand.
Both private companies and local governments are eager to expand the country’s nascent rare earth production. The various initiatives will undoubtedly bring a host of jobs to the country.
Since 2011, Lynas Rare Earth’s Mount Weld mine has dominated Australian rare earth. The company recently announced that it was planning to invest $345m to expand the capacity of the mine and its concentration plant. This would propel a 50% increase in the production of neodymium and praseodymium by 2025.
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Similarly, the Yangibana mine could turn out to be one of the most exciting new projects in the country. The proposed mine is owned by Hastings Technology Metals and sits on a mammoth ore reserve of approximately 21 million tons. Consultancy firm Snowden concluded that the probable reserves sit at around 7.7 million tons with a rare earth composition of 1.13%.
The total resource estimate of Arafura’s Nolans project sits at 29.5 tons with a rare earth oxide proportion of 2.9%. The upcoming mine plans to include a separation plant which would be Australia’s first such domestic facility.