Alkane Resources’ wholly owned subsidiary Australian Zirconia has obtained a mining lease for the $1bn Dubbo Zirconia Project (DZP) from the NSW Department of Industry, Division of Resources and Energy.

The latest development comes after the company secured state governmental approval from the New South Wales for the project development in May 2015.

In order to proceed with construction, the project also needs to obtain environmental protection licence, which will serve as the final major step in the approvals process.

"Cash-flow from Tomingley has provided the necessary funding to maintain the development pipeline."

The DZP is located 25km south of the regional centre of Dubbo in the Central West Region of New South Wales.

Australian Zirconia noted that DZP is based upon large in-ground resources of the metals zirconium, hafnium, niobium, (tantalum), yttrium as well as rare earth elements.

Alkane currently has two advanced projects, which include the Tomingley Gold Operations and the DZP.

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By GlobalData

Cash-flow from Tomingley, which began production early 2014, has provided the necessary funding to maintain the development pipeline and assist with pre-construction development of the DZP.

Environmental impact statement for DZP is in place and the company also received development consent from the Planning Assessment Commission.

The project is set to start production in 2017.

DZP has an estimated mine life of 70+ years and will be the next project to produce rare earths in the world expected to begin operations.