- $56 million heavy rare earths pilot project gets under way in the Kimberley
- Project to create 95 jobs during construction and operation
Premier Mark McGowan has turned the sod at a new heavy rare earths project in the Kimberley, which is expected to create 95 jobs in its initial phase.
The $56 million project, which is located about 160 kilometres south-east of Halls Creek, is being developed by Northern Minerals Ltd and will take about 11 months to build.
Northern Minerals plans to conduct a three-year trial, processing 60,000 tonnes of ore per year to produce mixed rare earth carbonate, including dysprosium and terbium.
Dysprosium is a sought-after, heavy rare earth element used in a variety of high-tech manufacturing processes. Dysprosium and terbium are a key component of highly energy-efficient permanent magnet motors used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, air conditioning, and industrial robots.
If successful, the company plans to proceed with a full-scale plant with an expected capital expenditure of $329 million and up to 680 new jobs across construction and operations.
The proponents have signed an agreement with the Jaru people, guaranteeing that at least 20 per cent of the workforce for the full-scale project will be from the local Aboriginal community.
Kimberley MLA Josie Farrar joined the Premier at the event.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"This project provides vital economic development and employment opportunities to the Kimberley community, with 50 construction jobs and 45 ongoing operational positions.
"The project proponents have also applied for Federal funding for a dedicated Aboriginal training centre at the mine site, to be run in partnership with Kununurra's Wunan Foundation.
"The State Government supports this application, and looks forward to the successful completion of the pilot plant project."
Premier's office - 6552 5000