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Arafura secures environmental approval for Nolans project

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Arafura Resources has secured Australian government’s environmental approval for its Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) project in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Located 135km north from Alice Springs, the proposed mining project is expected to help Arafura become a long-term, secure supplier of NdPr through the mining of the Nolans Bore rare earths-phosphate deposit.

The approval follows receipt by the company in December of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority’s (NT EPA) environmental impact assessment report, which also recommends the project can move forward.

The firm said that the latest approval represents the project’s advancement towards a final investment decision (FID).

However, the Australian government’s assessment recommends a number of conditions relating to biodiversity, groundwater and radiation. The assessment has been completed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

Arafura plans to incorporate these conditions into the Northern Territory’s EPA conditions in the final mining management plan. The firm intends to draft the plan during the second half of 2018.

Arafura managing director Gavin Lockyer said: “The quality of work completed by our sustainability team and environmental consultants GHD has again shone through in the receipt of this final government approval.

“With Territory and Federal approvals in hand, Arafura is better placed to engage in meaningful discussions with potential strategic partners and other parties that may have an interest in assisting with funding the development of the Nolans project.

“Along with completing engineering studies, progressing project funding options will be a priority for the Company during 2018.”

The company expects to secure the final project construction and operating approvals once the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources issues a mining authorization and approves the activities in the MMP.

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