Hastings Gets Preliminary Green Light for Rare Earths Project

- June 27th, 2019

The ambitious project proposal put forward by Hastings includes five open mine pits, on-site processing of ore and tailings storage facilities.

Australian critical metals explorer Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS) has received a nod from the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for its rare earths project.

The Yangibana rare earths site in Western Australia has been recommended for final approval by the environmental oversight agency following the public release of an environmental assessment report.

In the report, the EPA examines the potential impacts Yangibana could have on nearby waterways and residents, as well as vegetation and animal habitats, deeming them unlikely to be significant.

“The EPA’s environmental assessment for this rare earth proposal considered impacts on flora and vegetation, stygofauna (subterranean fauna living in the groundwater), local water systems and human health and also considered if these impacts were manageable,” wrote EPA Chair Tom Hatton.

The ambitious project proposal put forward by Hastings includes five open mine pits, on-site processing of ore and tailings storage facilities.

Infrastructure will also be needed at the remote location. Access and haul roads, on-site accommodations, administration buildings and an airstrip are all included in the plan.

The EPA report hasn’t given Hastings a carte blanche, however, recommending several conditions such as further surveys of flora and vegetation, additional modeling of groundwater around small sensitive calcrete areas and protecting the limited calcrete areas from clearing and mining.

“This is a very exciting next step in the project’s history and takes us one step further to realizing our construction and production dream,” Charles Lew, Hastings executive chairman, commented.

Once all the permits are in place, Hastings plans to utilize a hydrometallurgy processing plant to treat the rare earths deposits, which host a high neodymium and praseodymium resource.

The rare earth carbonate produced at the plant will then be refined into individual rare earth oxides at processing plants overseas before being sold to end users.

Rare earths have been a popular topic of late as the China-US trade dispute has grown to include the technology metals. China’s dominance in the sector has been an ongoing concern since 2010, and has sparked several exploration initiatives around the world.

Shares of Hastings Technology Metals sat flat on Thursday (June 27), trading at AU$0.15.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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