Alkane Resources is a step closer to developing the Dubbo polymetallic project in New South Wales after receiving Export Finance Australia (EFA)’s interest in financing the project.
The Dubbo project has a large in-ground resource of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, yttrium and rare earth elements, with a potential mine life of over 75 years.
Alkane noted that EFA’s financial support would be subject to finalisation of due diligence, acceptable financing structure and eligibility and credit requirements.
As Australia’s export credit agency, EFA is mandated to support businesses which are seeking to develop new export markets.
EFA joins Austrade and the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office, which was launched by the Australian Government in January, to help develop the critical minerals supply chain in Australia.
With the EFA support confirmed, Alkane subsidiary Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) will now seek to escalate engagement with other interested parties to find more strategic investors.
EFA has also provided a letter of support to strengthen ASM’s ongoing discussion with potential investors.
Alkane managing director Nic Earner said Alkane had been engaging with the government more rigorously since the announcement of the critical minerals initiative.
“After extensive engagement with the Australian Government, particularly recently as part of its critical minerals initiative, it is pleasing to see that stated support is translating into preparedness for government agencies to act, in this case with EFA providing confirmation of its interest in being part of the financing consortium for the Dubbo project,” he said.
ASM managing director David Woodall also welcomed the action, saying, “I look forward to continuing ASM’s discussions with strategic partners and offtake parties, particularly with the ongoing trade support and now potential financial support from the Australian Government.
“It is very clear in today’s world that security of supply chains in all manner of materials is a pressing issue, and security of critical minerals is one supply chain that the Australian Government is clearly identifying as a priority for government backing.”
Australia is one of the world’s top five producers of critical minerals, including antimony, manganese, ilmenite and rutile.
It is also the second largest producer of rare earths, accounting for 13 per cent of global production.