Arafura Resources Limited (ASX:ARU) is progressing towards executing the Native Title Agreement for its 100%-owned Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in the Northern Territory.
In late February, the native title holders of the Nolans Project site gave their consent to enter into a Native Title Agreement (NTA) with Arafura, however, COVID-19-related travel restrictions delayed the signing of the agreement.
On June 5, these travel restrictions were removed by the Northern Territory Government after consultation with land councils and traditional owners, and the parties are now progressing towards signing the agreement.
The Central Land Council, with whom Arafura negotiated the terms of the NTA, has been preparing travel arrangements to facilitate signing of the agreement by representatives of the prescribed body corporates that represent the native title holders.
Execution of the NTA will allow the process of granting the project’s primary and ancillary mineral leases, which are intended to host the mine, process plant, tailings and process residues containment facilities, accommodation village and many of the infrastructure elements of the planned Nolans operation, to proceed.
USA Rare Earth relationship
The company notes media commentary this week in relation to a relationship with USA Rare Earth LLC (USARE) and while discussions are continuing, advises that no formal agreement has been agreed between the parties at this stage.
Arafura entered a non-binding letter of intent with USARE in December 2019.
This strategic alliance allows for the treatment of the company’s SEG-HRE (middle and heavy rare earth) carbonate product by USARE’s proprietary processing technology.
Arafura successfully produced a refined liquor at its rare earth separation pilot plant at ANSTO Minerals in which SEG-HRE comprised greater than 99.5% of the total contained rare earths, and samples of this liquor will represent feed material into USARE’s pilot plant in Colorado.
Test program considered
A test program, the purpose of which is to separate individual heavy rare earths hosted in the feed material, is being considered by the parties.
If successful, USARE could represent a potential outlet for some of Arafura’s heavy rare earths, such as dysprosium and terbium, directly from Nolans into US and other key geographical markets.