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Northern Minerals hails funding support for rare earths play

Updated: May 20

Northern Minerals is looking to build a financial structure for its Browns Range rare earth project

Northern Minerals has kicked off its mission to establish a rock-solid financial structure behind its 100 per cent-owned Browns Range rare earths project in northern Western Australia.

Management says the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has completed a strategic review of its project and will now begin a detailed due diligence process as it considers a potential funding arrangement.

NAIF was created by the Australian Government to act as a financier charged with supporting development across northern Australia. Since 2016, the group has approved $4 billion in financing for a wide range of infrastructure projects including large-scale critical minerals developments and university and airport upgrades, in addition to aquaculture and agriculture projects.

It has also earmarked $500 million worth of funding to develop critical minerals projects as part of the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy. The company says it will work closely with NAIF as it progresses through its due diligence process.

We consider the preliminary support of NAIF as a significant first milestone in our financing journey for our Brown’s Range Project. We believe this highlights the strong progress we have made across the key elements necessary for a bankable Project, being our heavy rare earths resources, our proven processing ability and our long-term offtake arrangements, which we aim to demonstrate with the completion of our updated Definitive Feasibility Study. Northern Minerals executive chairman Nicholas Curtis

Apart from its work on securing an optimal financing structure, the company is also continuing to make inroads on a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), with the aim of securing debt funding in time for a discussion around a final investment decision in the first quarter of next year for a commercial-scale mining operation and beneficiation plant.

The DFS at Browns Range is based on the supply of 30,500 tonnes per annum of contained total rare earths oxide (TREO) in concentrate, in an initial eight-year mine life that will include producing 2800 tonnes of dysprosium and 420 tonnes of terbium.

In a sign of management not wanting to leave any stone unturned, it is also involved in an ongoing discussion with Export Finance Australia (EFA) in relation to its potential involvement in the development of the project via a debt funding facility.

EFA is Australia’s export credit agency and supports the nation’s trade and infrastructure agenda by backing export businesses and infrastructure.

Back in May, Northern Minerals had success in tapping into available Federal funds after being awarded $5.9m as part of the Government’s Critical Minerals Development Program.

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