Hastings Technology Metals Ltd has signed the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Baotou Sky Rock Rare Earth New Material Co. Under the MOU the parties have outlined their intent to enter into a binding commercial offtake agreement for the sale by Hastings and purchase by Sky Rock of mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC), which will be produced from Yangibana, Western Australia. The framework for the commercial offtake agreement is set out in the MOU, and the final terms and conditions will be formalised in a contract.
The parties have agreed to enter discussions to formalise a commercial offtake agreement for Hastings to sell 2,500 t/y MREC to Baotou Sky Rock. Hastings says “the signing of this first MOU reflects the strong level of interest and demand from potential customers and off-take partners in the Yangibana project.
Charles Lew, Hastings Executive Chairman, said “This first MOU for an offtake agreement with Sky Rock is a significant milestone for the company. The high NdPr content of our orebody is gaining firm recognition in the rare earth and magnets industry. Further offtake agreements are expected to follow, which will reinforce the company’s financing plan to fund the development of the mine and the construction of the processing plant”.
The Parties have additionally acknowledged that any commercial offtake agreement is contingent on Hastings starting operations and production of MREC from the Yangibana mine, and with any additional conditions usually included in commercial off-take contracts.
Hastings estimates an annual production quantity of 15,000 t of MREC, which it will sell to offtake partners, with production projected to commence in 2H 2019.
Sky Rock, based in Baotou (the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia), China, is a company set up in 2006 that is involved in the production of high temperature tolerance NdFeB permanent magnets. Its main products are sintered neodymium magnets and sintering samarium cobalt magnets. Its products are sold to computer, mobile phone, motor and generator, automobile (EV/HEV), audio-video system, office automation and many other major international companies worldwide. The company has strong technical competence and invests substantially in R&D for rare earth usage in magnets and its long term sustainability of production.
Hastings is currently developing a rare earths mine and processing plant at Yangibana in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia. The processing plant is anticipated to commence production of MREC in 2H 2019. Hastings has completed both beneficiation and hydrometallurgy pilot plants, in the process producing MREC samples which are high in neodymium and praseodymium content. These are critical materials for the production of permanent magnets and other technology applications. The MREC will be capable of being further refined and treated to produce a number of separated rare earth oxides outside of Australia. Hastings estimates an annual production quantity of 15,000 t of MREC, which it will sell to offtake partners.
The Yangibana project hosts JORC Resources totalling 17.02 Mt at 1.27% TREO (comprising Measured Resources of 2.92 Mt at 1.04% TREO, Indicated Resources of 7.19 Mt at 1.43% TREO and Inferred Resources of 6.90 Mt at 1.21% TREO), including 0.41% Nd2O3+Pr6O11.