Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK) has made another major step forward at its Dubbo Zirconia Project (DZP), located in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia.
Following on from New South Wales state governmental planning approval for the development of the DZP in May 2015, the NSW Department of Industry, Division of Resources and Energy have advised that the Mining Lease for the project has been granted.
This leaves the Environment Protection Licence (EPL), which also follows on from planning approval, as the final major step in the approvals process.
When received, this would enable Alkane's wholly-owned subsidiary, Australian Zirconia Limited (AZL), to progress with construction.
Construction is subject to financing.
Key details of the DZP
The DZP is located 25 kilometres south of the large regional centre of Dubbo.
The project is based upon large in-ground resources of the metals zirconium, hafnium, niobium, (tantalum), yttrium and rare earth elements.
Over several years the company has developed a flow sheet consisting of sulphuric acid leach followed by solvent extraction recovery and refining to produce several products.
This includes proving the process at demonstration pilot plant scale and providing product samples for market evaluation.
Strategic significance of the DZP
Customers from most major economies such as United States, Japan and several European countries consider the products from the DZP to be “strategic” or “critical” metals and oxides.
The chief factors influencing this classification include supply risk, economic importance, availability of substitutes and whether the production time frame is short or long term.
The importance of the DZP as a new source of more than ten strategic metals and oxides diversifying supply away from existing sources continues to gain recognition and support from companies and governments seeking to reduce dependence on current supply sources, particularly from China.
The diversity of the DZP’s products and of their markets will also provide the project with stability of its revenue streams over a broad base as different markets cycle through ups and downs over time.
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