Hastings Technology Metals has received a commonwealth environmental permit for the Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia.
The Yangibana project includes the development of five open pit mines, groundwater abstraction, on-site processing of ore, tailings storage facilities and supporting infrastructure.
Hastings chairman Charles Lew said the company has now received all material approvals, including land tenure and native title agreement required for the development of Yangibana.
Hastings plans to continue improving the economics of Yangibana by progressing a number of mining, metallurgical and process design and research initiatives that expand on the studies completed as part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) released in 2017.
“This environmental permit complements the state approval received in August 2019. Both approvals demonstrate confidence by the state and commonwealth governments that the project can be implemented in an environmentally sound manner,” Lew said.
Hastings described the four-year environmental assessment process of the Yangibana project as “rigorous”.
The latest permit is subject to conditions, including a validation of the groundwater model during the construction phase and the development of a groundwater dependent ecosystem monitoring program.
The proposed beneficiation and hydro metallurgy processing plant will treat rare earth deposits to produce a mixed rare earths carbonate that will be further refined into individual oxides at processing plants overseas.
All work streams have been geared to ensure the project is capable of being financed and brought into production within the current rare earth pricing environment, according to Hastings.
The company aims to become the next significant producer of neodymium and praseodymium outside of China.
Neodymium and praseodymium are vital components for manufacturing permanent magnets used in electric vehicles, wind turbines and robotics.