ASX-listed Arafura Resources
Ltd has reported a reduction in projected operating
costs for its Nolans rare earths project in the Northern
Carried out as part of the definitive
feasibility study on Nolans, metallurgical testwork has
produced a 7.4% lower operating cost estimate of Australian
dollar (A$) 14.51/kg ($11.05.tonne*) rare earths oxide
equivalent (REO) at the commencement of nameplate
Arafura said that the decrease in costs is
reflective of a material reduction in sulphuric acid and
process waste residues. While projected opex costs have fallen,
the expected capex with a 15% contingency has been revised up
from A$1.408bn to A$1.437bn.
Commenting on the wider rare earths
market, Arafura said: "The combination of new resource taxes,
tighter environmental regulations and a shift from export
control to production control will result in increased rare
earths prices in the medium term as a consequence of a higher
production cost base in China."
Also listed in Australia, Peak
Resources Ltd has announced that the Appian Natural
Resources Fund and the International Finance Corp. have advised
the company that all regulatory approvals required for the
first stage bankable feasibility study (BFS) funding.
Peak now intends to close A$29.5m in
funding for the Ngulla rare earths project in Tanzania.
"We are very pleased to have been advised
the required regulatory approvals have been received for the
first stage of the BFS funding and we look forward to working
with Appian, IFC and our respective advisers to closing the
transaction," Darren Townsend, Peak’s managing
Meanwhile, NYSE-listed Rare
Element Resources Ltd has streamlined the
metallurgical processes on ore from its Bear Lodge rare earths
project in Wyoming, US. The technology now uses significantly
fewer mixers and settlers and utilises a new technique for the
rapid stripping of loaded organic solvents without the use of
"Over the last several months, we have
expanded our patent-pending technology by identifying a process
flow sheet that delivers multiple saleable products, both
efficiently and in what we believe will be a very cost
effective manner," Rare Element’s chief operating
officer, Jaye Pickarts, said.
"By improving upon conventional solvent
extraction (SX) technology and introducing this innovative
method for stripping organic liquor outside the SX process, we
expect to be able to meaningfully reduce the required SX
capacity and significantly cut down on reagent and energy
consumption," Pickarts added.
Thorium is to be removed, along with
cerium at the start of the processing chain, to ensure lower
reagent and energy consumption than would be the case if the
low value products were included for processing until the end
of metallurgical handling.
In China, Aluminium Corp. of China
Ltd (Chinalco) is rumoured to be consolidating the
largest rare earths company in Jiangsu province.
Reported in several Chinese media outlets,
the Xuzhou Jinshi Pengyuan Rare Earth Material
Co. (XJP) is to become a subsidiary of Chinalco,
leaving all companies in the province now with the "big six"
Chinese rare earths producers.
XJP is a rare earths smelter and
separator. The company also produces neodymium-iron-boron
(NdFeB) magnets, and has an annual capacity of 1,200 tpa rare
earth metals and alloys and 400 tpa NdFeB magnets.
Rising Nonferrous Metals Share Co. Ltd is
also understood to be consolidating companies within Jiangsu. A
Chinalco employee told IM that while XJP is a
subsidiary of Chinalco, they were unable to confirm the
*Conversion made June 2015