The critical metals company is celebrating a recent approval from Australia’s environment minister that gives its Yangibana rare earths project the green light.
Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS) is celebrating a recent approval from Australia’s environment minister, which gives the company’s Yangibana rare earths project the green light.
Hastings’ plan for Yangibana, which is located in Western Australia, includes mining and processing, with the end goal being on-site production of a mixed rare earth carbonate comprised of neodymium and praseodymium — two of the most in-demand rare earths.
The design for Yangibana is quite ambitious; it includes five open-pit mines, access and haul roads, groundwater abstraction, tailings storage facilities and an on-site processing plant for ore.
The company will also have to construct the needed infrastructure for such a large development, including accommodation facilities, administration buildings and an airstrip.
With the crucial permit in hand, Hastings will now focus on final project design and engineering readiness, with construction planned to start at the end of 2019.
Executive Chairman Charles Lew expressed his happiness and excitement over the milestone approval in the company’s announcement.
“This environmental permit demonstrates that the Yangibana project will not have a significant impact on the environment by implementing commitments in the Environmental Review Document and the conditions of the Ministerial Statement,” said Lew.
He also highlighted the role the Australian project could have in the global rare earths sector.
“Hastings is on track to construct and operate a rare earths mining operation that will contribute to a more sustainable use of energy worldwide and be part of the e-mobility revolution,” Lew added.
The environmental permit is subject to conditions that require the company to comply with ongoing surveying and monitoring of native flora, vegetation and groundwater abstraction.
Hastings must also commit to regular monitoring of the nearby stygofauna habitat; these fauna live in groundwater and aquifers.
While Hastings holds a 100 percent stake in the most significant deposits at Yangibana, the company has a 70 percent interest in additional deposits, which will also be developed in the future.
Rare earths have been widely discussed as a potential casualty of the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. The metals are increasingly in demand, because they are used in smartphones as well as the permanent magnets used in electric vehicle engines and wind turbines.
Currently, China is the leader in rare earths production, with little output stemming from elsewhere.
Shares of Hastings were up 14.34 percent on Tuesday (August 20), trading at AU$0.16.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.