Ausenco Services has secured a contract from exploration company Meteoric Resources to conduct an engineering scoping study of the Caldeira ionic clay rare earth element project in Brazil.

Under the contract, Ausenco will be responsible for conducting the scoping study at the Caldeira rare earths project to a Class 5 Engineering cost estimate standard.

The study involves the review and assessment of plant location options; infrastructure and logistics options; mining options; and fleet and processing options.

The contract also covers assessing the project implementation schedule, project risk register and assessment, and financial modelling.

Meteoric Resources CEO Nick Holthouse said: “The study will provide economic, engineering and environmental data and deliverables for the project, whilst helping to refine parameters and next steps for the development pathway for this high-grade, high-recovery and strategically located asset.”

Meteoric said the scoping study will only focus on three Southern licences – Figuera, Capao de Mel and Soberbo.

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By GlobalData

Ausenco APAC/Africa president Reuben Joseph said: “Ausenco looks forward to working with Meteoric to develop the Caldeira Project, which was recently announced as a Tier 1 Ionic Clay Rare Earth Element (REE) Project with the world’s highest-grade deposit of this type.”

Ausenco’s office in Perth, Australia, with support from its Brazil office, will manage the scoping study, which is scheduled for completion by Q1 2024.

Located in the state of Minas Gerais, the Caldeira Project encompasses 51 licences including 23 mining licences and 21 mining licence applications.

Significant exploration work was carried out at the project, including 1,311 shallow auger drill holes. The project returned ultra-high-grade total rare earth oxide intersections following drilling across six licences.

Earlier this year, Meteoric announced the acquisition of 21 ionic clay REE licences near its Caldeira REE project.