Located 160km south east of Halls Creek in northern Western Australia, the Browns Range Project (the Project) is the first significant dysprosium producer outside of China.
Following a review in 2016, Northern Minerals developed a new business plan (ASX announcement 4 February 2016) to support the Project’s pathway to production. The plan separates the Project into three development stages and allows Northern Minerals to test the process and market the mixed RE carbonate product, then develop the Project to bankable feasibility study (BFS) level and finally build the full scale operation.
Browns Range Pilot Plant
The company commenced the production of heavy rare earth carbonate in late 2018 as part of a three year pilot assessment of economic and temporarily technical feasibility of a larger scale development at Browns Range.
Northern Minerals’ tenure around the Browns Range Project covers an area of approximately 2,750km2 and is centred on the Browns Range Dome, a major geological feature covering approximately 1,500km2. The Dome is located in the northern Tanami region, within both Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT).
This massive landholding is highly prospective for heavy rare earth (HRE) mineralisation with outstanding potential for further discoveries. Northern Minerals’ exploration success to date has been exceptional, with seven out of the targets that have been drilled converted to mineral resources and many more highly prospective targets still to be drill tested.
Northern Minerals has 100% ownership and marketing rights for all but three of the tenements covering the Browns Range Dome. The other three tenements are held by Northern Star with Northern Minerals retaining the full REE rights.
Since 2009, exploration by the Company has been focused on the WA tenements, which has led to the discovery and completion of HRE Mineral Resource estimates at Wolverine, Gambit West, Gambit, Area 5, Cyclops, Banshee and Dazzler (see Mineral Resources page). From these deposits Wolverine, Gambit West, Gambit and Area 5 all have Ore Reserve estimates.
The main objective of the Company’s exploration team is to increase the proposed mine life to at least 20 years which means a doubling or more of the current mineral resource. New resources, particularly of the “Dazzler-style” are being targeted in the exploration program. This means deposits with an average grade of 0.5% TREO or more, and near-surface open-pittable (200m vertical depth). The “structural corridor” from Dazzler extending southeast towards the NT border (a strike length of approximately 12km), close to the unconformity, is considered very prospective for this style of deposit. The currently unexplored Browns Range NT project will also become more of a priority with drilling planned there in 2021.
All of the current JORC compliant Mineral Resources remain either open at depth and/or to varying degrees, along strike, indicating further potential to increase the current Mineral Resources.