Alkane Resources, an Australian miner, has formed a joint venture with Treibacher Industrie through its subsidiary Australian Zircon to produce and market ferro-niobium extracted from the Dubbo zirconia project (DZP) in New South Wales.
As per the joint venture framework agreement, the two companies will formulate a new entity, which will process Dubbo niobium concentrate at a facility in Australia employing Treibacher technology. The companies intend to produce over 3,000tons of ferro-niobium, using all of the niobium concentrate produced from the project that has a capacity of one-million ton a year.
The joint venture firm is expected to become the sole producer of niobium in Australia, following the commencement of production due in 2016.
Treibacher, meanwhile, will have an option to purchase 50% of the new company within three years of commissioning of the plant. Further, the company will secure exclusive rights to market the ferro-niobium product.
Alkane Resources has submitted environmental impact statement (EIS) for DZP with the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure and is awaiting approval process for the State Significant Project.
At current prices, the annual ferro-niobium production is expected to account to the revenues of some $90m, of which Alkane will have share $80m, which was 15% of the total anticipated annual project revenue as determined by the definitive feasibility study.