Arafura Resources Ltd (ASX:ARU) has jumped the final regulatory hurdle for the Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in the Northern Territory with the granting of mineral leases (MLs) by the NT Government.
This key milestone secures the Nolans Bore mineral resource for an initial period of 25 years and shares have jumped more than 8% at opening to 6.2 cents.
The MLs, which will host the Nolans mine, process plant, waste storage facilities and accommodation village, were granted to Arafura’s wholly-owned subsidiary Arafura Rare Earths Pty Ltd (ARE) by the Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Paul Kirby.
Native Title Agreement
This comes after the signing of the project’s Native Title Agreement (NTA) last month by Anmatyerr native title holders who, in so doing, gave their consent to the grant of all the MLs allowing for multiple renewals beyond the initial grant term.
The grant process provides Arafura with the exclusive right to mine and to occupy the MLs to construct and operate the Nolans Project.
“Step closer to final investment decision”
Managing director Gavin Lockyer said this was an exciting time as it represented the last regulatory hurdle for the project and the company.
He said: “This significant milestone brings us one step closer to a final investment decision at a time when critical minerals such as rare earths are in growing demand around the world.
“The Native Title Agreement and granting of the MLs will provide investors with a major confidence boost that the project is ready to proceed subject to finance.”
Arafura is in the advanced stages of preparing a Mining Management Plan (MMP) for authorisation by the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR).
This will allow site-based activities to progress.
Lockyer continued: “We are grateful to have secured long-term development tenure for Nolans after many years of hard work by the Arafura team and support of our shareholders and stakeholders.
“Securing our development tenure is a critical milestone and is the catalyst to further advance our engagement with governments as well as potential offtake, debt and project funding partners.”
Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission
The company welcomes the release of the First Report by the recently established Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC).
TERC recommends that the Northern Territory Government focus on growing key sectors of the Northern Territory economy, including resources, energy and manufacturing.
The company has prepared and lodged a submission to the TERC and looks forward to working with it and the Northern Territory Government to help meet the immediate focus on delivering jobs and investment to Central Australia.