Arafura’s Gavin Lockyer on the rising rare earths market
May 17, 2018 – “What I will say about this slide though is that our project is one of only 12 in Australia that has been granted major project status by both the federal government and our local Northern Territory government. I think that reflects the strategic importance of rare earths, in particular, to Australia and its export partners.” states Gavin Lockyer, Managing Director of Arafura Resources Ltd. (ASX: ARU), in a recent presentation at the 7th Annual InvestorIntel Summit – Buds, Batteries & Blockchain 2018.
Gavin Lockyer: My name is Gavin Lockyer. I am Managing Director of Arafura Resources. I have been with the company for around 12 years now. I commenced as CFO and company Secretary and stepped into the managing director role about 3½ years ago. Also, traveling with me is our General Manager for Business Development and Exploration, Mr. Richard Brescianini, who is standing over to the side there. If you have any technical questions about the project later on please feel free to seek out Richard or myself. Richard has also got some little toys which we can pass around because we all talk about these magnets, but not all of us have seen them all, been able to feel how strong they actually are. Richard has got a couple of toys there to play with. As you heard earlier if you were around when I was on the panel, we are developing the Nolans Bore Project, which sits in the middle of Australia. It is enriched in the rare earths in particular NdPr or neodymium, praseodymium. These are the key feed materials for these high-strength magnets. I will not bore you with all the standard details. What I like to do in these presentations is to talk a little bit about the market, about what we are experiencing at the moment so perhaps it might not correlate with the slides that are on the screen. I think you are all educated enough to jump on the website and download a standard presentation. I think it is probably more beneficial if we have some interaction around what we are actually seeing in the real world from our discussions with magnet producers, both in China, Japan, etc. What I will say about this slide though is that our project is one of only 12 in Australia that has been granted major project status by both the federal government and our local Northern Territory government. I think that reflects the strategic importance of rare earths, in particular, to Australia and its export partners. What this means really it just gives us a dedicated case officer in Canberra and also in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory where we can coordinate relationships through government and, not fast-track, but supposedly grease our way through the wheels of bureaucracy. I will touch on some of our permitting stuff a bit later on. As we have all heard, the NdPr market is critical to the high-performance magnets. We are seeing renewed interest in capital markets in particular around the fact that a lot of these guys have made money out of the battery metals. A lot of the fund managers, etc, we are speaking to now have all made money in graphite, cobalt, lithium. They are starting to think, well, what is the next technology metal that is going to take off? Inevitably the battery technology has been the key enabler around the electrification of transportation fleets. Those batteries have to drive something. Inevitably it is an electric motor. Those electric motors, as we have heard from Nick from Alkane earlier, if you want that motor to be lighter and more efficient it will have NdPr magnets in it…to access the complete presentation, click here
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