Australia-based Hastings Technology Metals has received a Commonwealth environmental permit for its Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia (WA).

The approvals have been given for construction and operation of an open pit rare earths mine, processing facility and associated support infrastructure in Upper Gascoyne, about 270km east-northeast of Carnarvon in WA.

The permit is subject to conditions, including a validation of the groundwater model during the construction phase and the development of a groundwater dependent ecosystem monitoring programme.

Yangibana project includes the development of five open pit mines

The project involves the development of five open pit mines, groundwater abstraction, on-site processing of ore, tailings storage facilities, access and haul roads and supporting infrastructure such as accommodation facilities, administration buildings and an airstrip.

Hastings executive chairman Charles Lew said the company has now received all material approvals, including land tenure and native title agreement required for the development of Yangibana.

Lew added: “This environmental permit complements the State approval received in August 2019. Both approvals demonstrate confidence by State and Commonwealth governments that the Project can be implemented in an environmentally sound manner.” 

Hastings intends to continue improving the economics of Yangibana by progressing a number of mining, metallurgical and process design and research initiatives that expand on the studies completed as part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) released in 2017.

The proposed beneficiation and hydro metallurgy processing plant at the Yangibana project will be equipped to treat rare-earths deposits, predominantly monazite, hosting high neodymium and praseodymium contents to produce a mixed rare earths carbonate.

The resulting product will be further refined into individual rare earth oxides at processing plants overseas.

The neodymium and praseodymium are said to be vital components in the manufacturing of permanent magnets which is used in products such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, robotics, medical applications and others.

In August 2019, Hastings had secured environmental approval for Yangibana project from Western Australia.