Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU the Company) is focussed on becoming the first significant producer of the heavy rare earth (HRE), dysprosium outside of China. The Company has a large landholding in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) that is highly prospective for this element. Its current portfolio consists of three projects, the Browns Range and John Galt projects in WA, and the Boulder Ridge Project located in the NT.
Of these projects, Northern Minerals’ 100% owned Browns Range Project (the Project) is its flagship project, where it has a number of deposits and prospects containing high value dysprosium and other HREs, hosted in xenotime mineralisation.
Dysprosium is an essential ingredient in the production of NdDyFeB (neodymium dysprosium iron-boron) magnets used in clean energy and high technology solutions. As a result of increasing global demand for these applications dysprosium supply is critical.
The xenotime’s richness in dysprosium and other high value HREs, in combination with the mainly silica host rock, provides a key competitive advantage. It allows the ore to be significantly concentrated, up to 30 times through the beneficiation stage, with excellent recoveries. Northern Minerals has undertaken extensive testwork to develop a two stage process flowsheet, consisting of a beneficiation and hydrometallurgical plant, to produce a high value, high purity dysprosium rich, mixed rare earth carbonate product for export.
The John Galt and Boulder Ridge projects are at early stages of exploration, with both displaying similar mineralisation to the Browns Range Project.