Dubbo Project at a glance
Toongi, 25 kilometres south of Dubbo in central-western New South Wales, Australia.
The Toongi Deposit contains rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium with reserves that support an initial project life of 20 years, and potential for a significantly longer mine life. The polymetallic nature of the deposit provides a natural hedge against commodity price variability, de-risking the project for ASM and providing a robust economic outlook for shareholders.
The Dubbo Project is ready for construction with all major state and federal approvals and licences are in place (see below), along with a proven process flow sheet and solid project economics. With the integration of the metallisation process, ASM is progressing a major pilot plant program and an optimisation study planned to be completed by the end of 2020. While it progresses the final optimisation work, discussions with key strategic partners seeking continuity and security of the supply key oxides and metals products for Australian and global manufacturing are progressing. ASM is targeting agreements with key strategic partner or partners by the end of 2020.
Approvals and Timeline
The Dubbo Project has been in feasibility since 1998 with FEED engineering and process development work completed for 1Mtpa plant and ASM having obtained all major state and federal regulatory approvals necessary to commence detailed design and construction. The approvals gained to allow the commence of construction are:
- The Dubbo Project received development consent from the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission on behalf of the Minister for Planning on 28 May 2015. This was followed by federal approval under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on 24 August 2015.
- Mining Lease (ML) 1724 was granted by the (then) NSW Department of Industry, Division of Resources and Energy on 18 December 2015. It covers 2,390 hectares and includes the operating site, significant biodiversity offset areas and residual agricultural land. ASM owns 3,456 hectares of land at Toongi, encompassing the Mining Lease.
- The Environment Protection Licence for construction activities was granted on 14 March 2016 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. A Conservation Property Vegetation Plan (PVP00199) has been negotiated with Central West Local Land Services to protect and conserve 1,021Ha of biodiversity offsets in perpetuity.
- ASM has lodged a draft Mining Operations Plan (MOP) with the Division of Resources and Geoscience for the construction activities. This will be finalised by the lodging of the Rehabilitation Bond at the time of financial approval for the Project.
Products and marketing
ASM intends to produce a suite of rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium materials in the form of chemicals, powders and metals. These products will be available in a range of standard and customised specifications, based on market requirements. The focus will be on high-value downstream products, used in a range of advanced technologies by leading companies worldwide. Our marketing strategy is based on securing long-term customer relationships, founded on a reliable and secure production base.
At full capacity, the Dubbo Project mineral processing plant will be capable of processing 1Mtpa of crushed ore via sulphuric acid leach and solvent extraction recovery. Mining will take place in a single open pit, then transported to the processing facility. Sulphuric acid used for leaching will be produced on-site using a sulphur burning acid plant that also generates electricity and steam for the process plant. A small amount of waste rock will be extracted and transported to a small waste rock emplacement (WRE) to the southwest of the open cut. The liquid and solid residues from the processing plant will be transported and stored in liquid residue storage facilities, solid residue storage facilities and salt encapsulation cells.