Northern Minerals expects to receive first cashflow from the Browns Range project in Western Australia two years earlier than expected by developing a standalone beneficiation plant.
The company is finalising a feasibility study of the beneficiation plant this year, and is aiming to receive first cash flow in 2023 if the plant receives board approval.
Northern Minerals has identified several facilities outside China to process the heavy rare earth xenotime concentrate it produced at Browns Range.
A decision on proceeding with beneficiation plant will be determined upon completion of the feasibility study.
Research and development test work is also being conducted at the Browns Range pilot plant, with a focus on constructing and installing ore sorter equipment.
Trial and commissioning of the plant are slated to occur in the second quarter of this year.
Northern Minerals has committed an additional 8000 metres of drilling at its Browns Range tenements before the end of June 2021.
Northern Minerals chief executive Mark Tory said that it was the right time to for the company to accelerate the project.
“We believe the time is right to accelerate our plans to achieve commercial-scale production, with positive market sentiment for strategic minerals, including heavy rare earths, being strongly reinforced so far in 2021,” he said.
“Fundamental to this sentiment is the fact that governments around the world are looking to both secure supply chains for strategic minerals outside of China and introduce policy settings that will ultimately drive demand, particularly through the increased take-up of electric vehicles.”
Tory said making the beneficiation circuit a standalone project would assist in getting its xenotime concentrate product to market faster.
“We believe that focussing on the beneficiation circuit as a standalone project both simplifies the feasibility study and future funding options, which will allow us to produce a marketable xenotime concentrate product in an accelerated timeframe, while continuing to assess the feasibility of ultimately expanding its processing operations to include the hydrometallurgical plant and downstream product separation,” he said.