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Arafura: A collaboration in full swing

Arafura rare earths

Arafura Rare Earths’ objective to build a rare earths mine in Northern Territory has become a collaborative effort between renewable energy manufacturers, financiers and a prospective miner.

Arafura established a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with General Electric Company (GE) in July 2022, where it was committed to supplying rare earths for GE’s offshore wind turbines.

This partnership has advanced to the point where Arafura and GE are in the process of establishing a long-term sales agreement, while the two are also working on cogeneration power plant technology that will reduce the carbon intensity of Arafura’s Nolans mine when it gets up and running.

GE has also facilitated Arafura’s engagement with an international financier, which has led to Canadian export credit agency Export Development Canada (EDC) giving indicative support for up to $US300 million of debt financing for Nolans.

It comes after Germany export credit agency Euler Hermes committed in-principle to providing up to $US600 in loan guarantees to Arafura in March, so long as Arafura establishes offtake agreements with German manufacturers.

The emerging miner also has access to up to a combined $350 million through Export Finance Australia and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

“This (EDC’s support) is further demonstration of the strategic significance that international governments place on the (Nolans) project and its capacity to provide a sustainable supply of critical NdPr (neodymium-praseodymium) to meet the needs of major businesses in key global jurisdictions,” Arafura managing director Gavin Lockyer said.

The Nolans project – which will see a mine and processing plant constructed 135km north of Alice Springs – has the potential to produce 340,000 tonnes of rare earth concentrate per annum.

Arafura aims to upgrade mined ore into two rare earth products through its onshore processing facilities: NdPr oxide and mixed middle-heavy rare earth oxide.

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