PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The renewable energy arm of major US energy company General Electric (GE), GE Renewable Energy has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with ASX-listed Arafura Resources over a potential levy of neodymium praseodymium (NdPr) agreement.
The parties will negotiate a long-term sale agreement for GE to purchase NdPr from Arafura’s Nolans project in the Northern Territory, subject to Arafura obtaining project financing for Nolans and completing construction and development of the project.
The MoU also outlines a potential strategic capital investment by GE in Arafura which will be reviewed and negotiated in due course.
“Signing this MoU to collaborate with a Tier 1 OEM is a tremendous outcome. Long-term Nolans NdPr can be used in magnets critical to power generation in GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW , one of the most powerful offshore wind turbines on the market. It is very gratifying that a new supply chain model, together with value chain transparency, ensures that we know exactly where our NdPr will be used, what whether in a particular electric vehicle model or a series of wind turbines,” said Arafura MD and CEO Gavin Locker.
“Nolans NdPr’s contribution to enabling clean energy technologies to decarbonize the world is becoming increasingly evident.”
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of GE Renewable Energy Danielle Merfeld said the memorandum of understanding is another example of GE’s efforts to develop strategic collaborations that can help the company accelerate the energy transition.
“Working with Arafura gives us an exciting new option to secure reliable, sustainable and competitive sources of key materials in the future that will help us reduce the cost of renewable energy.”
The AU$90.8 million Nolans project will leverage Australian mineral processing expertise to develop rare earth separation technology currently not available here, creating 650 jobs at the peak of construction and new high-value export opportunities.
An updated feasibility study estimated that over a mine life of 38 years, the project would produce 4,440 t/y of NdPr oxide and 474 t/y of heavy rare earth oxide, as well as 144,393 t/a of phosphoric acid.
The MOU, which was unveiled at the Sydney Energy Forum, has been well received by the governments of the United States and Australia.
Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell said the agreement showed Australia’s real potential to foster strong trading partnerships in critical minerals with our major trading partners.
“It is also an indication of this government’s commitment to the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector,” said Minister Farrell.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Magdalene King said the MoU was an example of how U.S. and Australian companies are partnering and investing to secure supply chains and accelerate the global transition to net-zero emissions.
“Australia is committed to playing a constructive role in international efforts to reduce emissions, while preparing Australia to become a clean energy superpower,” King said.
Arafura reiterated on Wednesday that the memorandum of understanding was non-binding and that the two companies had not entered into any commercial terms regarding the sale and purchase of NdPr or any potential strategic investment. The company said there was no certainty as to when and whether binding agreements would be reached.