Sunday 9th May, 2021

Rare earth minerals project wins Major Project Status

The Federal Government has granted Major Project Status to the Goschen Zircon and Rare Earth Minerals Project, a project that could bring hundreds of jobs to regional Victoria and South Australia.

VHM Limited intends to develop a mine new Swan Hill in Victoria and a rare earth minerals refinery at an established site in regional South Australia as part of the project.

The project will develop and export around 3000 tonnes per annum of refined rare earth oxide products, around 14,000 tonnes per annum of mixed heavy rare earth carbonate concentrates and around 500,000 tonnes per annum of zircon and titanium minerals.

Major Project Status is awarded in recognition of the strategic significance of a project to Australia. It provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Australian Government approvals, project support and coordination.

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Christian Porter said the project is expected to support 500 direct new jobs during construction, and 300 direct ongoing jobs over a minimum period of 20 years.

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“Along with the mining of zircon and titanium minerals for export, this project involves mining rare earths and processing them in a purpose-built refinery in Australia, just the sort of value-adding we want to see in this and other areas,” Porter said.

Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said the project’s ability to supply high-value separated rare earth products had the potential to underpin the future development of other advanced manufacturing industries in Australia such as transport and defence.

“The rare earths in the Goschen Mine include neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, which can be used in things such as the production of electric vehicles, generators for wind turbines, and even robotics,” Pitt said.

Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, said the project offers exciting new opportunities for the region.

“Rare earths and critical minerals are key ingredient to develop the technology of the future and our region will be a part of that,” Webster said.

“This is another string in the bow of the Mallee’s economy and that means more local jobs and more investment to our region.”