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DRA graduates from FEED to plant EPCM at Yangibana rare earths project

DRA Global’s Pacific division has been rewarded for previous work on Hastings Technology Metals’ Yangibana rare earths project, in Western Australia, with the company now receiving the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract for the project’s processing plant.

The EPCM contract, the single largest dollar value contract associated with the project, will cover all aspects of the design and construction of the processing facility and associated non-process infrastructure capable of producing 15,000 t/y of mixed rare earths carbonate (MREC), Hastings said.

The appointment followed a series of value engineering studies and the front end engineering design (FEED) completed by DRA Pacific during 2018 and 2019. Works directed under the EPCM contract have an estimated value of around A$350 million ($241 million).

The key component of the contract terms is the comprehensive performance guarantee linked to ore throughput for the entire process flowsheet at Yangibana, in Western Australia, according to Hastings.

“The appointment of DRA Pacific as the EPCM contractor for Hastings represents another critical milestone for the project, reinforcing that Yangibana is execution ready,” Hastings said.

“Choosing DRA Pacific was the logical choice given the already close working relationship built up over the last 15 months, and the experience in rare earths processing plant design that DRA Pacific bring to the table.”

Charles Lew, Hastings Executive Chairman, said DRA’s knowledge and experience in developing successful minerals processing projects made them the “ideal candidate” to manage the construction of the project.

He added: “The award of the EPCM contract moves the Yangibana rare earths project firmly into development phase to commence project execution and progress to production of our mixed rare earth carbonate by 2022.”

Andrew Naude, Chief Executive Officer of DRA Global, said: “Awarding the execution of this internationally important rare earths project on the Australian Continent to DRA is testament to DRA’s position as the preferred technical partner for projects of this nature.

“We have put together a very strong team for the delivery of the project and our Project Manager has significant experience in delivering successful projects.”

The EPCM contract is a fundamental requirement of Hastings’ debt providers and hence is pivotal to the project financing process, Hastings said. A definitive feasibility study in 2017, based on a 5.15 Mt reserve, detailed a production rate of 1 Mt/y to produce up to 15,000 t/y of mixed rare earths carbonate.