ASX-listed Peak Resources has commissioned an updated bankable feasibility study (BFS) on its Ngualla rare earth project in Tanzania and the Teesside Refinery in the United Kingdom.
Ngualla is one of the largest, highest grade and lowest cost Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr) rare earth projects in the world. 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 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.
Peak Resources has commissioned Amec Foster Wheeler Australia to lead the updated BFS. The company completed a BFS in April 2017 in partnership with Amec Foster Wheeler. The BFS was backed by extensive pilot plant test work, detailed engineering design and cost studies and JORC 2012 compliant ore reserves and Mineral resources estimates.
It covered a mine and multi-stage processing plant on-site at Ngualla and a rare earths refinery in the Tees Valley. Since the BFS, Peak Resources has identified an opportunity to adopt a lower cost flotation collector and the potential of developing a more direct and lower cost access road to the Ngualla Project site. There has also been a material increase in NdPr Oxide prices since the completion of the BFS.
The commissioning of the BFS update follows the recent achievement of the following milestones:
• Implementation of a Planning Permission for the Teesside Refinery;
• Execution of a 250-year lease over the Teesside Refinery site in the Tees Valley in the UK;
• Proposed repayment and termination of the ANRF Royalty Facility, subject to shareholder approval; and
• Recapitalisation of the company via an equity raising, with proceeds to be used to progress the development Ngualla and the Teesside Refinery.
The key focus areas for the BFS update include:
• Early delivery of the Southern Access Road rehabilitation works;
• Updated transport logistics study;
• Flotation process optimisation including testwork and analysis;
• Mine plan update;
• Tailings storage facility evaluation;
• Renewable energy studies;
• Project execution strategy development;
• Early works and project execution planning;
• Operating and capital expenditure estimate updates to reflect current market pricing; and
• Updated pricing assumptions for NdPr Oxide and other separated rare earth products.
The BFS Update is expected to be completed by the end of February 2022 and to cost approximately A$1.7 million.