The billion dollar Dubbo Zirconia and Rare Earths Project has secured early interest from a giant multinational that is interested in buying product from and selling technology to it.
While the Dubbo Project has been on the drawing board for 15 years and operating a pilot plant, on and off, for nine years, it is in the last three years that it has firmed up customer interest in its diverse bag of esoteric metals products.
In August 2016 Alkane Resources, the company behind the project, signed an agreement with Minchem Ltd for all of the Dubbo Zirconia Project’s (DZP) zirconium product.
That followed a July 2013 agreement with Treibacher Industrie for the DZP’s niobium.
The recent deal is with Siemens, a Germany manufacturing champion which turned over $109 billion in 2015.
The non-exclusive and non-binding offtake and services agreement with Siemens is for a period of three years.
The arrangement seeks to identify business opportunities, for both companies, around the DZP.
These opportunities include Siemens exploring options to procure rare earths and rare earths metals from DZP, and the procurement of equipment and systems from Siemens that suit the DZP, as it is an advanced technical operation.
The DZP has received all required government approvals, is construction ready and projected annual revenue from the project of US$430 – $470 million will comprise approximately 32 per cent from zirconium products, 37 per cent from primary rare earths, 10 per cent from hafnium, 17 per cent from niobium and 4 per cent from additional rare earths elements.
Alkane will be the world’s largest producer of heavy rare earths outside China, with products principally used for rare earth magnets and special ceramics and alloys.