Hastings Technology Metals has secured a $99.28m (A$140m) loan for the construction of the Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia (WA).
The loan from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) features a 12.5-year tenure and is subject to pre-completion conditions.
Hastings now looks to finalise the debt package needed to completely fund the construction of the project with other financial institutions.
The first drawdown is expected early next year, aligned with the funding schedule of the project.
The NAIF loan forms part of the total debt funding of $212.7m-$283.6m (A$300m-400m) required for the Yangibana project, which has become the first rare earths project in Australia to secure the NAIF loan.
Located in WA’s Gascoyne region, the project comprises a mine and beneficiation plant at the Yangibana site and a hydrometallurgical plant at the Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area (ANSIA) near Onslow.
Hastings plans to use the loan to fund the construction of the project, which is expected to create up to 750 jobs during the construction phase and support the country’s critical minerals sector.
Yangibana will create more than 250 operational jobs during the initial 15-year mine life.
The project is expected to move into construction this year, with first production to commence by 2024.
Hastings executive chairman Charles Lew said: “This is the Commonwealth’s first project financing package for the construction of a rare earth mine and production plant in Australia and supports the rapid development worldwide of decarbonisation technologies in e-mobility and energy.”
The project will produce mixed rare earths carbonate (MREC), which is expected to meet around 6%-8% of the global demand for critical minerals, namely neodymium and praseodymium.
According to the company, Yangibana has the highest composition of neodymium and praseodymium in the world.
These two minerals are used in the manufacture of permanent magnets.
Commenting on the Yangibana project, Lew added: “Yangibana is an amazing rare earths opportunity that will supply the world’s highest composition neodymium and praseodymium concentrate to Tier 1 customers in Europe and Asia.”