Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) has secured a non-binding and conditional LOI from the Export-Import Bank of the US (US EXIM) for a debt funding package of up to $600m (A$908.34m) for the Dubbo rare earths project in New South Wales, Australia.

The support from US EXIM is contingent upon the use of US materials during the construction phase and the strategic importance of the Dubbo Project to the critical minerals supply chain.

The LOI is subject to US EXIM completing due diligence and ASM securing all necessary approvals for the project.

This development is a significant advancement in ASM’s funding strategy for the Dubbo Project and reflects the strong support the company has received from government entities, investors and industry groups, particularly in North America.

The Australia-US Taskforce on Critical Minerals has been instrumental in fostering the partnership between the two nations, focusing on the development of secure and sustainable critical mineral supply chains.

The Dubbo Project has notably benefitted from the leadership of Minister Madeleine King, who has been actively advocating for Australian critical minerals projects in North America.

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This advocacy and enhanced cooperation have opened new avenues for funding opportunities for projects that align with the bilateral goals of Australia and the US.

Following Export Finance Australia’s (EFA) prior conditional finance approval of A$200 million in debt funding for the Dubbo Project, US EXIM has submitted an LOI for the building phase of the project.

The prospective capital support provided by US EXIM serves as a spur to strengthen customer and financing emphasis in North America, even though the LOI is non-binding and conditional.

ASM managing director and CEO Rowena Smith said: “The Dubbo Project is a globally significant rare earths and critical minerals asset, well positioned to support the joint objective of Australia and the US to develop and expand reliable, responsible and secure global access to critical minerals.

“We are delighted to receive this letter of interest from US EXIM following extensive collaboration with multiple government and industry stakeholders in the US and look forward to building on the relationships we have established in this jurisdiction.”