Hastings Technology Metals has entered a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Estonian Government’s investment agency, EIS, to conduct a scoping study into the potential for downstream rare earth processing in Estonia.
The collaboration aims to enhance the European supply chain for strategic materials critical to the electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors.
Following its May 2023 Staged Development Feasibility Study, Hastings is concentrating on constructing the Yangibana Rare Earths Project’s mine and beneficiation plant.
The project’s objective is to produce a rare earth mineral concentrate for export, thereby facilitating early project cash flows.
Concurrently, Hastings is evaluating the benefits of further processing this concentrate into mixed rare earth carbonate.
The MOU with EIS outlines mutual goals such as streamlining planning and permitting processes and exploring financial support from the Estonian Government, including tax incentives.
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The agreement also focuses on securing land access and prioritising renewable energy use to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.
It leverages Estonia’s existing capabilities in rare earth mineral processing and supports the Estonian Government’s strategy to bolster the EU’s supply of materials essential for high-tech industries.
Additionally, the alliance is in line with Hastings’ ambition to create a European-centric mine-to-magnet supply chain, complemented by its significant stake in Neo Performance Materials.
Neo Performance Materials owns Europe’s only operating commercial rare earth separation facility in Sillamae, Estonia.
It is constructing a sintered rare earth magnet manufacturing plant in Narva, Estonia, with production anticipated to commence in 2025.
Hastings executive chairman Charles Lew said: “Hastings is delighted to establish this partnership with the Estonian Government to evaluate downstream processing opportunities, as a natural extension of our ongoing work to maximise value from the Yangibana Rare Earths Project.
“This is also builds on our strategic investment into Neo Performance Materials to advance our vision of building a rare earth magnet supply chain for the European market, in line with the ongoing focus from EU member states such as Germany to secure alternative sources for critical raw materials.”