Arafura Resources’ Nolans neodymium-praseodymium project has increased its expected production life to 33 years.
The new ore estimate also indicates a 54 per cent increase in the total neodymium-praseodymium reserve to 29.5 million tonnes.
Neodymium and praseodymium, collectively known as NdPr, are rare-earth metals, well-recognised for their long-term success in the heavyweight automotive and industrial power industries.
Arafura’s mineral tenure over the Nolans project site is secured by three granted exploration licences.
The company has also applied for four mineral leases which, when granted, will host the mining and mineral processing operations, and many of the associated infrastructure elements of the Nolans project.
Arafura is planning to mine an average of 7.6 million tonnes of ore and waste rock each year to produce 897,000 tonnes of ore as feed to a single-stage crushing and milling circuit at the process plant approximately 8.5 kilometres south of the mine.
In addition to the updated ore reserve, Arafura has also prepared a production schedule for the Nolans project based on the mining inventory, which includes some of the project’s inferred mineral resources.
The mining inventory consists of approximately 39.9 tonnes grading 2.8 per cent total rare earth oxides and 12 per cent phosphorous pentoxide.
The new mining inventory supports production over 39 years of an average of approximately 4,325 tonnes per annum of NdPr oxide at an operating cost of less than US$24 ($37) per kilogram.
Arafura managing director, Gavin Lockyer said the reduction in operating costs places Arafura as one of the lowest cost NdPr producers in the world.
“The increase in ore reserve and mining inventory assets to the long-term potential of the Nolans project, in conjunction with the recently announced deep drilling results, reinforces [Arafura’s] standing as a world class NdPr development opportunity,” he said.