Namibia Rare Earths Inc. has received Environmental Clearance Certificates (ECCs) pertaining to its application for a mining licence on the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Project (Lofdal) in northern Namibia. The certificates, which are issued by the Office of the Environmental Commissioner in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) are required in support of the Mining Licence application for Lofdal which is being processed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME).
The certificates have a three-year period of validity from date of issue. The mining licence application (ML 200) was submitted to the Ministry of Mines and Energy in late 2016 and remains pending. The issuance of an ECC is a condition precedent for the granting of any Mining Licence in Namibia and represents an important step in the overall process undertaken by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in making a determination for the granting of a mining licence.
Namibia Rare Earths engaged SLR Environmental Consulting (Namibia) Pty. Ltd. in early 2015 to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Lofdal to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and to develop appropriate Environmental Management Plans for the proposed mine development at Lofdal. The EIA process was conducted over an 18-month period and included extensive baseline environmental studies and formal community consultations. Final reports were submitted to MET in June 2016 in support of the application for an
Environmental Clearance Certificate. The application for a mining licence was subsequently filed with MME in November 2016.The ECCs pertain to the development of an 840 000 tpa open pit mining operation at Lofdal together with processing facilities, waste rock dumps and tailings storage facility to produce heavy rare earth concentrates at site. Environmental clearance has also been provided for the construction of a +/-40 km long 66kV overhead powerline from the national power grid with a parallel water pipeline to deliver power and water to site. Provision has been made to consider installation of a supplemental photovoltaic solar power plant at site.
The company continues to assess flowsheet optimisations and downstream processing opportunities for the project as it awaits a decision on the issuance of a mining licence.