Australian rare earth project making headway

A rare earth project in New South Wales, Australia moved a step closer to mining after receiving approval from the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).

The PAC announced on Feb. 11 that Alkane Resources' (ASX:ALK) Dubbo Zironia Project can proceed under certain conditions. Key areas of concern relate to air quality, water impacts, transport, long term landform and land use, along with potential impacts on the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the pink-tailed worm lizard and Fossil Hill, Alkane stated in a press release.

The Dubbo Zirconia Project is expected to process 1 million tonnes of ore throughput per year over a period of 70 years or more, the company states on a project page – processing zirconium (hafnium), niobium (tantalum), yttrium and rare earths. A demonstration pilot plant has been running since 2008, resulting in the development of a working flowsheet and verified resource extraction and processing methods, acccording to Alkane. The company has also signed MOUs with potential purchasers of DZP products, including an agreement with Japan’s Shin-Etsu Chemical Company, which will see 100% of the DZP’s rare earth outputs being shipped to Japan for processing into high purity individual rare earth oxides.

Alkane Resources has seen a good year so far in the markets, with its stock price up 69.5 percent year to date.