WA EPA gives greenlight to rare earths project

Northern Minerals' Browns Range rare earths project has been given EPA approval.

The proposed mine, located about 160 kilometres southeast of Halls Creek, is Northern Minerals' flagship project and is slated to produce approximately 4000 tonnes of rare earth elements annually, once full ramp up is complete.

The operation has a proposed mine life of ten years, and will run as both an open cut and underground mine.

EPA chair Paul Vogel said the proposal had been carefully examined, and aligns with Radiological Council standards.

“The Radiological Council and the Department of Mines and Petroleum are responsible for ensuring radiation risks are managed within international and national standards to protect human and environmental health,” Vogel said.

“Together with the regulation provided by these two key agencies, the proponent has also committed to developing a Project Radiation Management Plan which would be finalised for regulatory approval prior to construction and operation.”

The EPA also applied several conditions to the mine's operation, including a fauna management plan.

This mine approval of this mine is a major step forward for the rare earths market globally, as China pushes to reduce production and keep more output internally.

Northern Minerals is also focused on developing its John Galt rare earths project.

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