Australian explorer Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) is set to officially open their Pilot Plant on July 27 which marks a significant milestone in the Company’s goal of becoming the most significant producer of Dysprosium outside of China.
The Pilot Plant is the first of three stages within Northern’s Browns Range Project, located 160km southeast of Halls Gap in Western Australia, which will produce rare earth carbonates – a specific group of metals used in a variety of clean energy products.
Most notable of the rare earths is the little known mineral Dysprosium, a fundamental ingredient for the magnets used in electric vehicle batteries.
At a time when electric vehicle production is rapidly increasing, the opening of Northern’s Pilot Plant comes when Dysprosium producers in China hold a monopoly over the market, creating 99% of global supply.
Making the opening of Northern’s Pilot Plant even more significant is the position President Trump holds in regard to Chinese products. With the United States being one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, the threat of further U.S. tariffs on Chinese products appears highly favourable for Northern Minerals.
Although the official launch of the Pilot Plant is scheduled for July 27, and will be attended by the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, crushing of ore has already commenced with the on-site laboratory producing the site’s first rare earth carbonate last week.
With ore processing underway, Northern Minerals now turns their attention to the next stage of the project – R&D work to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the full scale plant, capable of producing 10 times the amount of rare earth carbonate as the Pilot Plant.
As the world scrambles for clean energy solutions, Dysprosium and electric vehicles will be crucial to meeting emission targets and the official opening of Northern Minerals’ Pilot Plant on July 27 will be a big step towards a clean future not reliant on product supply from China.
Northern Minerals trade under the ASX code: ‘NTU’
*OzFinancial Australia are paid a retainer to assist NTU with Private Investor Management