Critical minerals, Funding, News, Rare earths

Key contract for ‘globally strategic’ rare earths project


Bechtel Mining and Metals has been awarded a key contract in the development of the Dubbo rare earths and critical minerals project in New South Wales.

The US-based contractor will carry out front-end engineering design (FEED) services for Dubbo, opening the project up to US investment opportunities.

Bechtel will progress design of both the process plant and non-process infrastructure (NPI) facilities as Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) gears up for Dubbo’s execution phase.

The works will form a key component of ASM’s ongoing feasibility study, and allow the company to progress key funding activities to support a final investment decision.

“We are delighted to announce this contract with Bechtel, one of the world’s leading engineering and construction companies with extensive experience in the mining and metals sector,” ASM managing director and chief executive officer Rowena Smith said.

“The Bechtel team bring deep understanding of the Dubbo project through their prior work on the NPI services contract and have established a proven ability to deliver and work collaboratively in their performance to date on this work.

“The FEED services will progress our engineering work and provide critical inputs to enable us to take final investment decision and commence execution of the Dubbo project.”

ASM hopes the next steps taken at the Dubbo project will set it up for further investment in Australia and the US.

The Bechtel contract makes Dubbo eligible for potential Engineering Multiplier Program funding from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, with ASM submitting a draft application to support more than 80 per cent of contract costs.

Bechtel Mining and Metals president Ailie MacAdam emphasised the company’s commitment to ASM.

“The Dubbo project is a globally strategic project in the rare earths and critical mineral sector,” she said. “We are delighted to be working with ASM in close partnership to progress the project and position it for success.

“Part of our collaborative approach has been to support ASM in identifying US government funding that has been allocated to develop critical minerals supply chains.”

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