Cummins Range is the largest undeveloped rare earths (REE) project in Australia with an indicated and inferred resource of 519Mt at 0.31% total rare earth oxides (TREO) and 4.6% P2O5 (phosphate) for a contained 24Mt of phosphate and 1.6Mt TREO.
Development will be carried out in stages with RareX (ASX:REE) looking to kick things off with low-cost direct shipping ore (DSO) phosphate production under the first stage.
Capex to enable initial bulk mining of about 300,000tpa of apatite mineral rock phosphate is expected to be just $45m, which significantly de-risks that key first step.
This stage will also support Stage 2, which transitions the project into a rare-earth critical mineral mine.
The $304m capex Stage 2 beneficiation operation would produce 550,000tpa of higher value phosphate-rare earth mineral concentrate, containing about 169,000t of phosphate and 12,000t of TREO.
Recent beneficiation test work exceeded expectations after delivering a 20x upgrade of the TREO to the concentrate, providing strong support to the proposed Stage 2 plan.
Stage 3 will see a $63m upgrade to the Stage 2 plant in year 13 to produce a concentrate from the un-weathered, fresh rock.
The terms sheet with KMG Logistics to share use of their existing bulk loading facility at Wyndham Port significantly de-risks a key component of the bulk handling supply chain for the Cummins Range project.
Under the terms sheet, the company will have a binding exclusivity period expiring 30 June 2024 to negotiate a long form bulk loading facility agreement.
This will grant it at least 600,000tpa of capacity at the facility for an initial five-year term.
It also grants REE a binding first right of refusal in the event of any proposed asset sale by KMG during this period.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with KMG to deliver a shared infrastructure agreement for the existing bulk loading facility that is mutually beneficial and minimises the project footprint,” chief executive officer James Durrant said.
“This agreement is one of several that we are currently working on to stitch the full Cummins Range bulk supply chain together, with the aim of delivering a simple, low-cost route to get our rare earths and phosphate project to market.
“We are very much looking forward to defining a final long-form agreement with KMG and working with them together to bolster the Kimberley region’s mineral potential.”