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Peak Resources has announced that the Cabinet of Ministers of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has approved the Special Mining Licence (SML) application by PR NG Minerals, a wholly-owned Tanzanian incorporated subsidiary of Peak, for the Ngualla Rare Earth Project.

Peak is committed to working with the Government to finalise an Economic Framework Agreement, Shareholders’ Agreement and other related documentation required as part of a formal grant of the SML by the Minister of Minerals.

The SML is the milestone regulatory authorisation required to develop the Ngualla Project under the Mining Act of the United Republic of Tanzania. The SML will provide the exclusive right to conduct mining operations at the Ngualla Project, which covers an area of approximately 18.14 km2.

In parallel with the negotiation of the Government Agreements, Peak will now progress workstreams relating to funding, offtake and development arrangements for the Ngualla Project, with construction targeted to commence by the end of September 2022.

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Peak would like to extend its appreciation and gratitude to the Government for its strong support for the Ngualla Project. In particular, it would like to thank Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of Tanzania; Cabinet members; Honourable Minister for Minerals; Honourable Deputy Minister for Minerals; Permanent Secretary for Minerals; the Chairman and members of the Mining Commission; Honourable MP for Songwe Province; Regional Commissioner for the Songwe Region; District Commissioners of the Songwe District; and all other officials involved in assisting Peak to reach this transformational milestone. The Ngualla Project is one of the largest, highest grade and lowest cost Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr) rare earth projects in the world. It is located approximately 147 km
from the city of Mbeya in southern Tanzania and on the edge of the East African Rift Valley.

It has large and high-grade Ore Reserves (18.5 Mt grading at 4.8% Rare Earth Oxide for 887kt REO) and Mineral Resources (214.4 Mt grading 2.15% REO for 4.61 Mt REO). The Ngualla Project entails the construction of a mine, mill, concentrator, community projects and associated infrastructure. Construction of the project is expected to cost approximately US$200 million and create around 600 direct jobs during construction and around 220 direct jobs during operations.

As part of Peak’s integrated strategy, the project will produce a rare earth concentrate grading 45% REO, which will be shipped to its planned rare earths refinery in the Tees Valley, United Kingdom, which will produce NdPr Oxide and other separated rare earth products.

NdPr is the key element in high-strength permanent magnets, which are used in the production of electric vehicles and wind turbines. The demand outlook for NdPr is strong and closely aligned to global trends around decarbonisation, the electrification of transport and renewable energy generation.

China currently produces around 90% of the world’s NdPr Oxide, and the Ngualla Project will position Tanzania as one of the major rare earth suppliers outside of China. The Hon. Dotto Biteko (MP), Minister for Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania, said:

“The Government is pleased to announce the approval of a Special Mining Licence application to develop the Ngualla Rare Earth Project and its partnership with Peak Resources. This project represents an exciting opportunity for Tanzania to play an important global role in the supply of strategically important rare earth elements.

“We look forward to seeing the many benefits of the project being delivered to the people of Tanzania through employment, investment in social and regional infrastructure, as well as additional revenue from dividends, taxes, royalties and duties.”

Tony Pearson, Non-Executive Chair of Peak, commented:

“The approval of the SML application is a critical milestone in the development of the Ngualla Project, resulting from strong collaboration with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and all other stakeholders over a period of several years.

“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Government, working with local communities, and cooperating with relevant authorities to finalise an Economic Framework Agreement that will support the successful financing of the project and the delivery of multi-generational benefits and opportunities for the people of Tanzania.”

Bardin Davis, Managing Director of Peak, further commented:

“This is a landmark moment for Peak and will position Ngualla among the most advanced rare earth development projects that is fully permitted, has a JORC Compliant Ore Reserve, licence to mine, completed Bankable Feasibility Study and a fully piloted process from ore to separated oxides.

“With Ngualla being one of the highest-grade Neodymium and Praseodymium deposits in the world, Peak is ideally placed to benefit from the growing global focus on electric vehicles and decarbonisation technologies, as well as international initiatives to diversify the supply of rare earths. This is a very exciting time for Peak as we progress Ngualla towards development and construction.”