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Browns Range’s rare earths project to contribute to potential

The date of: 2023-06-05
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Browns Range’s rare earths project to contribute to potential alternative permanent magnets supply chain



source:Innovation news network
Northern Minerals has been around for more than a decade and started life as a uranium explorer. More recently, the company has been concentrating on developing its key Browns Range project and in particular the Wolverine Deposit, a key feature of which is the dominance of high value dysprosium and terbium and other heavy rare earths that are essential ingredients in the production of permanent rare earth magnets used in clean energy, military and high technology solutions.
There are various permanent magnets, but we’re interested in rare earth permanent magnets used in high-performance applications. These high-performance technologies operate at high temperatures in electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines, and defence applications. While Nd and Pr are required for these magnets, our Dy and Tb allow the coercivity (i.e. magnetic strength) to be maintained under those high temperatures, meaning when working, these rare earth permanent magnets retain their magnetic ability.
The inflection towards electrification and decarbonisation is undoubted – permanent rare earth magnets play a critical role in the realisation of these processes,  which creates strong long-term demand for key magnet minerals, however there currently lacks a diversity of supply of key permanent magnet materials including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium with China being responsible for the majority of the world’s supply.
So, from a Northern Minerals perspective, our rare earth elements can contribute to creating an alternative supply chain for these critical minerals. Our specific oxides, Dy and Tb, are particularly valuable in that there is limited production outside of China/Myanmar. When one country dominates this supply chain and the expected demand for these elements is expected to increase significantly, in our opinion it becomes evident how important the Northern Minerals materials become.
Not only that, but China also dominates the production of permanent magnets. Whilst we are not necessarily looking to get into magnet-making itself, we certainly think that our specific rare earth oxides, Dy and Tb, can contribute to a potential alternative metallisation and magnet making supply chain.
Ultimately, Northern Minerals’ strategy is to achieve FID, secure all of its project funding, get into construction and commissioning of its mining and processing operations and deliver REE concentrate to Iluka’s Eneabba rare earths refinery, which has commenced construction.
We think Northern Minerals, with its unique rare earth assemblage, operational and executive experience, reduced project complexity, quality of strategic partner in Iluka and geopolitical environment seeking diversity of supply chains in critical rare earths, is well positioned to capitalise on the expected decarbonisation and electrification environment underway and growing.


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