Nolans Bore

Study reveals rare earth project ‘viable’

Anthony Stewart, 21 December 2012,

Arafura Resources says independent analysis shows its rare earth project north of Alice Springs is commercially viable. The study suggests there are enough rare earth deposits at the Nolan’s Bore site for the operation of an open-cut mine for 22 years.

Chief executive Chris Tonkin says the study should boost the company’s attempt to attract enough investment to start mining. “They’d have to have the whole project assessed and in fact we have done all of this involving third parties and in our case it has actually cost us a fair bit of money but it is effectively a tick that the project is viable,” he said.

Mine gets time to submit environmental report
26 November 2012,

Arafura Resources Limited has been given extra time to produce an environmental impact statement for its proposed phosphate and rare earths mine, 135 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

Update: 2016

In 2016, Arafura Resources submitted a new EIS, that specifically disqualified uranium as a target:
“The project does not intend to extract and commercially recover the uranium and thorium, and consequently any uranium, thorium or radioactive decay products (known as radionuclides) in the ore are considered impurities, requiring removal.”

While the post-Fukushima market for uranium means the company currently has no plans to process yellowcake from Nolans Bore, the project configuration includes isolation and shallow burial of both the uranium and thorium, in hope that future markets will emerge for these waste streams.

“if the economics of phosphate or uranium improves sufficiently; or should a commercial market for thorium emerge, consideration may be given to modifying the process to recover and commercialise some or all of these co-products, or to investigating the viability of co-product recovery from tailings or process residues.”

(Nolans Project, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 2016)