Arafura Resources: Attractive Low-Cost Supplier of Rare Earth Magnetic-Feed
Arafura Resources Limited (ASX: ARU) (“Arafura”) reported significant reductions in operating costs at the Nolans Rare Earths (“REE”) Project following optimization efforts in 2014 and 2015.
Costs previously estimated at US$14.06/kg have been reduced to US$11.22 at the commencement of nameplate production. This reinforces Arafura’s position as a potential low cost producer of critical rare earths such as Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr) as feedstocks in permanent magnets. Annual operating expenditure per kg of NdPr Oxide is estimated at US$41.55.
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In this current context of supply chain instability, Arafura’s announcement is all the more exciting as its Nolans Rare Earth located in Australia’s Northern Territory is highly leveraged in favor of NdPr.
The announcement comes at a time of uncertain future supply of critical magnet-feed rare earths such as NdPr, which are critical in modern technology and for transitioning to a low carbon economy.
REE are indispensable to several emerging technologies such as wind turbines and hybrid vehicles and high-performance magnets. Permanent magnets are either present in most modern commodities, or are used in the manufacturing processes of these modern conveniences. Permanent magnets have become indispensable for most emerging technology in the last 3 decades because they can provide staggering levels of magnetic power for their relatively small sizes. The ultra-strong Neodymium-Iron-Boron magnets are the first choice magnets for many high-end applications as they offer the greatest performance.
Arafura also advised it had received a $3.4 million as a tax refund for eligible research and development (“R&D”) expenditure in relation to the development of its 100 percent-owned Nolans Rare Earths Project in the Northern Territory. These funds are to be used to support operations. Australia enjoys a similar R&D tax credit system to the exemplary one found in Canada. As far as the rare earth industry is concerned, the development of new processes to permit the extraction and purification of rare earths constitutes innovation and as such is eligible for Research and Development tax credits. One corollary from these findings is that the project has been assessed for innovation by government auditors and deemed to meet criteria for innovation.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>