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Australian Government supports proposed Iluka rare earths refinery

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

Iluka Resources Ltd has been undertaking a feasibility study for the development of a fully integrated rare earths refinery at Eneabba, Western Australia. During this process it has been engaging extensively with the Australian Government in relation to the development.

On 10 May 2021, Iluka received a letter from the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP; and the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP. The letter notes the following:

  • Iluka’s proposed Eneabba development broadly aligns with the Australian Government’s critical minerals policy objectives.
  • The establishment of a domestic rare earth oxide production capability would move Australia substantially further along the rare earths value chain, create regional jobs, capture more economic benefit from Australia’s resources, and build security in the global supply of critical minerals.
  • Iluka is in discussions with Export Finance Australia (EFA) regarding financial support for the project, including seeking a non-recourse loan facility.
  • The Eneabba refinery, if executed, would be capable of processing some third-party rare-earth concentrates, in addition to Iluka’s own monazite, subject to securing commercial agreement.
  • The Australian Government will continue to work with proponents of critical minerals and rare earths projects, including those that could supply concentrates to the Eneabba refinery, to consider options for support.

On receiving the letter, Iluka’s Managing Director, Tom O’Leary commented:

“As I outlined at Iluka’s Annual General Meeting in April, the Eneabba refinery represents an exciting opportunity for the company, consistent with our longstanding plans to diversify into rare earths. It is not an opportunity without risk, nor one we will pursue at any cost, particularly given the projected returns from our Phase 2 monazite business. This is the focus of our discussions with the Australian Government, along with the potential for alignment between commercial objectives and policy objectives. I have been impressed with the quality of engagement Iluka is receiving on these matters and the letter from Ministers Pitt and Tehan is a further, important and confidence building step in this regard. Shareholders can be assured that Iluka is progressing this part of our business with the same discipline we apply elsewhere. We look forward to our continued engagement with EFA and the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office to progress the Eneabba development.”


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Australian mining news