After nearly eight years, Northern Minerals’ Browns Range rare earths project in Western Australia has officially opened.
After almost eight years, Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU) has officially opened its Browns Range heavy rare earths pilot plant project in East Kimberley, Western Australia.
The launch of the project, which took place on Friday (July 27), makes Northern Minerals the first producer of heavy rare earths outside of China.
Browns Range’s main products are dysprosium and terbium, the first of which is an essential component in electric vehicles. It is almost always found in the permanent magnets that go into electric vehicles; it reduces the weight requirement and allows for high-temperature operation.
Dysprosium and terbium can also be used in wind turbines, industrial robots, air conditioning units and other technologies currently in development.
Browns Range’s first stage will consist of a three-year pilot plant project, which will be used to assess the economic and technical feasibility of a full-scale project.
“I am extremely proud of the entire Northern Minerals team as well as our construction partners that have helped make this project a reality,” George Bauk, Northern Minerals’ managing director and CEO, said in a statement.
He also expressed gratitude to the Western Australia state government and Australia’s federal government. “Projects such as Browns Range highlight the success of the Federal Government’s R&D Tax Incentive Scheme for stimulating the emergence of new industries,” Bauk said.
Demand for electric vehicles is expected to grow in excess of 20 million vehicles per year by 2025, and Northern Minerals says it will be helping to supply necessary materials for these vehicles as the only producer outside of China.
“There are not too many times when a managing director can stand up and launch a new industry in Australia and this is what we are doing today,” Bauk said.
Browns Range will start production of heavy rare earth carbonate in Q3 2018. As of 2:15 p.m. EST on Friday, Northern Minerals’ share price was up 10.84 percent at AU$0.092.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.