RareX advances Australia’s largest undeveloped rare earth deposit at WA’s Cummins Range

RareX has made an impressive start to a key year in the development of its Cummins Range rare earths-phosphate project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia (reports Small Caps).

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On the back of a December quarter that saw RareX make significant strides in multiple areas at Cummins Range, the company recently reported an impressive update to the mineral resource estimate (MRE) for the project.

The updated estimate totalled 524 million tonnes at 0.31% total rare earth oxides (TREO) and 4.6% phosphorus pentoxide including a higher-grade TREO resource of 44Mt at 1.02% TREO and 5.8% phosphorus pentoxide, based on a 6,500 parts per million measurement.

RareX chief executive officer James Durrant said the updated resource confirmed Cummins Range’s status as Australia’s largest undeveloped rare earths deposit and the second-largest rare earths deposit overall.

He said the project is right on target to become a significant potential source for neodymium-praseodymium magnets.

Neodymium and praseodymium are two of the world’s most sought-after rare earth elements.

Cummins Range’s favourable phosphate mineralisation also makes it a potential supplier to the valuable lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery market.

Haulage deal signed

The release of the MRE update followed RareX’s signing of a partnership agreement with transport specialist Newhaul for product haulage and logistical support.

“We’re very pleased to have partnered with Newhaul in this way. Newhaul has a proven operational track record and their commitment to indigenous employment and sensitive, efficient and data-driven operations is impressive and strongly aligned with the values of the team at RareX,” Mr Durrant said.

“Newhaul is a logistics specialist with extensive experience in providing haulage capability for resource projects [and] bring exceptional indigenous engagement, operational discipline and data-driven haulage management experience to the project.”

“Additionally, they have a clear roadmap for the decarbonisation of their haulage fleet.”

Binding obligations outlined

A term sheet for the partnership includes the creation of binding obligations to define forecast operational costs in support of the project’s definitive feasibility studies and to reach a binding haulage contract before the end of FY24.

The term sheet also requested Newhaul to immediately establish a special purpose vehicle to provide haulage services to the project and to provide an option for RareX’s Cummins Range subsidiary company to enter into the joint venture (JV) by acquiring 50% of the shares in the JV company.

Stage 1 plans

RareX is on target to commence stage 1 monetised pre-stripping operations in 2025.

In stage 2, the project will develop simple beneficiation of a dual-mineral concentrate (monazite and apatite) for sale into the LFP battery and magnet rare earth sectors.

Analysts say the project’s exposure to the two major sectors of the green energy transition – energy generation/use and energy storage – means the deposit underpins a rare project opportunity with reduced development and operational risk.

There is also significant exploration upside to expand the resource at Cummins Range to create a larger or longer-life project.

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