Tag Archives: Ailie MacAdam

ASM engages Bechtel for FEED services at Dubbo rare earths project

Australian Strategic Materials Limited subsidiary, Australian Strategic Materials (Holdings) Pty Ltd (ASMH), has appointed global engineering company Bechtel Mining and Metals, Inc to conduct Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) services for ASM’s rare earths and critical minerals Dubbo project in New South Wales, Australia.

The Toongi Deposit, part of the Dubbo project, is a polymetallic resource. It contains light and heavy rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium. Reserves support an initial project life of 20 years, with potential for a significantly longer mine life, the company says.

The contract will see Bechtel progress design of both the process plant and non-process infrastructure (NPI) facilities at the Dubbo project to support the company commencing the execution phase.

Key areas of the work involved in the Bechtel contract scope include:

  • Progressing the engineering in readiness for commencement of the execution phase, and to support the procurement of long lead items and site preparation works;
  • Finalise the Dubbo project strategies, execution plans, baseline scope and standards to drive the procurement process for engagement of the execution contractors and to support ‘readiness’ for execution;
  • Identify early works opportunities for program reduction and or reduction of implementation risk.

In parallel, ASMH will complete work required to meet the project environmental impact statement and development consent commitments required during the FEED services period.

At completion of the FEED services, Bechtel will deliver to ASMH documentation that will support (along with other inputs and work to be undertaken) ASMH finalising a feasibility study on the construction and operation of the project. The feasibility study will include an updated capital cost estimate, operating cost estimate and project schedule. This will allow ASM to progress key funding activities and provides a critical path to taking final investment decision (FID) on the Dubbo project.

Rowena Smith, Managing Director and CEO of ASM, said: “We are delighted to announce this contract with Bechtel, one of the world’s leading engineering and
construction companies with extensive experience in the mining and metals sector. The Bechtel team bring deep understanding of the Dubbo project through their prior work on the NPI services contract and have established a proven ability to deliver and work collaboratively in their performance to date on this work. The
FEED services will progress our engineering work and provide critical inputs to enable us to take final investment decision and commence execution of the Dubbo project.”

Bechtel’s services under the contract will be provided on a rates basis for work completed and is estimated to be about A$55 million ($36 million). Bechtel’s commencement of the work is conditional upon ASMH confirming it has received funding for the work, all necessary approvals to proceed with the work and ASMH issuing Bechtel with a notice to proceed.

It is anticipated that ASMH will be in a position to commence the FEED services in September 2024. The estimated schedule for the FEED services is 18 months and is anticipated to be completed in the March quarter of 2026. It is therefore expected that ASM will be in a position to take FID on the Dubbo project
in the first half of 2026. Based on the estimated project duration in the Dubbo Project Optimisation Study, with project execution anticipated to take 27 months, production would commence in 2028.

Ailie MacAdam, President, Bechtel Mining and Metals, said: “The Dubbo project is a globally strategic project in the rare earths and critical mineral sector. We are delighted to be working with ASM in close partnership to progress the project and position it for success. Part of our collaborative approach has been to support ASM in identifying US government funding that has been allocated to develop critical minerals supply chains.”

Bechtel wins EPCM contract for Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass project

Lithium Americas says it has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the construction of the Thacker Pass lithium project, in Nevada, USA, to Bechtel.

Lithium Americas has all federal and state permits needed to commence construction at Thacker Pass, a project with the potential to produce 40,000 t/y of battery-quality lithium carbonate in its first phase. The company says it anticipates a ruling on the Thacker Pass Record of Decision appeal in early 2023 and looks forward to working with Bechtel to begin construction activities shortly thereafter.

Jonathan Evans, President & CEO of Lithium Americas, said: “Awarding the EPCM contract is a significant milestone in advancing Thacker Pass towards production. Bechtel is a globally recognised and respected engineering firm with deep understanding of value-driven project delivery. This key partnership is a big step forward towards enabling North American production of battery-quality lithium carbonate to help secure our nation’s clean energy future.”

Bechtel’s Mining & Metals President, Ailie MacAdam, said: “By partnering with our customers and collaborating with contractors, suppliers and local communities, we’re able to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges and I’m excited to have this opportunity that will enable the project to responsibly unlock the resources needed for the energy transition.”

Lithium Americas and Bechtel share a commitment towards a safer, cleaner, more equitable and prosperous future, by advancing towards increased energy security and advanced decarbonisation targets, the company says. By working closely together, Lithium Americas can leverage Bechtel’s world-class team, a suite of seamless execution systems, global logistics and innovative construction strategies, it says. Bechtel will be fully integrating into the owner’s team and will be responsible for engineering, procurement and execution planning services, along with overall project management.