Iluka gets rare referral win

The Eneabba mine site in WA. Image: Iluka Resources

Iluka’s rare earth refinery at the Eneabba mine site in Western Australia has made it through the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) referral process without issue.

The rare earth refinery will produce separated rare earth oxides, and beyond the Eneabba stockpile, Iluka’s Wimmera project could serve as long-life rare earth concentrate feed source to the Eneabba refinery.

The EPA decision considered that the likely environmental effects of the refinery are not so significant as to warrant formal assessment, due to it being within the existing brownfield Eneabba mine site with limited environmentally sensitive receptors.

The potential impacts of the refinery can be adequately managed through the implementation of the proponent’s management and mitigation measures.

The Eneabba operation involves the extraction, processing and sale of a strategic monazite-rich mineral stockpile that is currently stored in a former mining void at the site.

The refinery will utilise the existing Eneabba monazite concentrate, future Iluka feedstocks and third-party feedstocks, and products will be transported via road trains from Eneabba to the port of Fremantle for export.

Iluka has approached the Eneabba development incrementally to maximise value and take a measured approach to risk.

The rare earth refinery is the third phase of the project, and it will produce approximately 17,500 tonnes per annum of individual rare earth oxides and carbonates.

Phase one was the screening plant that involves simple reclaim and screening of material stored in the former mining void at Eneabba, which commenced in the third quarter of 2020.

The second phase was the concentrator that processes the reclaimed material to separate the monazite and zircon streams, producing a 90 per cent monazite concentrate and zircon products, which is in execute phase, with commissioning scheduled for the first half of 2022.

The decision made by the EPA is appealable, with submissions closing on January 31, 2022.

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