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VHM on track for rare earths production

VHM rare earths production

VHM remains on schedule to commence rare earths production in 2025, with a series of important milestones achieved in the March quarter.

Executive director and interim chief executive officer Ron Douglas formerly accepted the CEO role on a permanent basis in February, bringing the expertise necessary to elevate VHM from an exploration company into a mine developer.

Douglas has had a distinguished career in the resources industry, including in senior project development roles at Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Orica and Ausenco.

After the public exhibition stage of the Goschen project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) concluded in mid-January, a public hearing stage began a month later.

At the conclusion of the public hearing on April 30, the independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) has 40 business days to prepare and issue its recommendations report on the Goschen project for Victoria’s Minister for Planning.

A positive ministerial assessment for Goschen will enable VHM to apply for its relevant permits and mining licence, thereby informing the company’s final investment decision for the project.

The March quarter also saw VHM announce a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 16.4 million tonnes at 3.8 per cent total heavy mineral (THM) for the Nowie project, located 22km north of the flagship Goschen project.

This has confirmed the establishment of a significant critical minerals province stretching over a strike length of more than 55km in north-west Victoria. This province ranges from the Cannie deposit south of Goschen and extends north to Nowie.

VHM also increased its Area 2 MRE from 26Mt to 81.3Mt at 3.16 per cent THM. This includes 75.5Mt of indicated resource and 5.7Mt of inferred resource. This boosted VHM’s total inventory by six per cent to 892.1Mt.

The company also inked a binding offtake agreement with Shenghe Resources in recent months, involving the supply of 6400 tonnes per annum of rare earth mineral concentrate and 100,000 tonnes of zircon-titania heavy mineral concentrate, which both make up approximately 60 per cent of forecast production per annum.

Pending a positive ministerial assessment and an enabled mining licence for Goschen, VHM has the potential to contribute to Australia’s critical minerals mining and processing capacity, and supply critical mineral products needed for the global energy transition.

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