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Arafura inks rare earths agreement with General Electric

Arafura Resources continues to secure the future of its Nolans project in the Northern Territory by collaborating with American giant General Electric to supply neodymium and praseodymium to produce wind turbines.

The two companies have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to negotiate a long-term sale and purchase agreement to secure rare earths for GE’s renewable energy division.

The agreement also outlines a potential strategic equity investment by GE in Arafura.

The Nolans project is 130km north of Alice Springs and comprises a shovel-ready neodymium and praseodymium, or “NdPr” rare earths project.

The two rare earths are essential components in the manufacture of permanent magnets for wind turbines.

Arafura says its Nolans project contains a massive 29.5 million tonnes reserve at 2.9 per cent total rare earth oxides, with excellent transport and operational infrastructure nearby.

Long-term Nolans NdPr may be used in magnets critical for power generation from GE’s Haliade-x12MW, one of the most powerful offshore wind turbines on the market. It is very gratifying that a new supply chain model, along with transparency of the value chain, will ensure we know exactly where our NdPr will be used, whether it is in a particular electric vehicle model or a series of wind turbine.

GE Renewable Energy Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Danielle Merford said working with Arafura gives the US company a new and exciting option to obtain reliable, sustainable and competitive sources of key materials that will help lower the cost of renewable energy.

The agreement was unveiled at the Sydney Energy Forum where Australia and the United States announced a deal to support new supply chains for clean energy technologies.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King says the Arafura-GE deal was an example of how US and Australian businesses were partnering and investing to secure supply chains and accelerate the global transition to net-zero emissions.

The latest agreement comes after an MoU announced in March with South Korean automotive giant Hyundai Motor Company to collaborate towards Arafura supplying neodymium-praseodymium oxide across a potential seven-year term, starting in 2025.

The potential offtake deal with Hyundai will include between 1000-1500 tonnes of the rare earths oxide annually when the Nolans project reaches its expected full production target in 2027.

The GE agreement will be subject to Arafura securing project funding in addition to the completion of construction, development and commissioning of the Nolans project.

Arafura says it has all the required regulatory approvals in place for the project. Last year it received major project status from the Northern Territory Government.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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