Northern Minerals are focused on becoming a significant producer of the heavy rare earth (HRE) dysprosium outside of China. The company has a large landholding in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) that is highly prospective for this element.
Northern Minerals’ 100% owned Browns Range Project is its flagship project, where it has a number of deposits and prospects containing high value dysprosium and other HREs hosted in xenotime mineralisation.
Primero were engaged to construct the beneficiation and hydrometallurgical plant, collocated at Browns Range in the East Kimberley region of WA. Primero's scope of work included civil design construction as well as onsite installation works. The remote location of the project highlights Primero's ability to successfully deliver complex projects in challenging and often hazardous environments.
Primero executed the works in just over nine months and 149,000 project hours without any lost time injuries.
DESIGN (Civil) | CONSTRUCT | COMMISSIONING
Pilot Plant construction positions Browns Range to become a significant new source of high value dysprosium.
Rare earths play an important and growing role in our modern society despite being a relatively unknown group of elements. Hybrid vehicles, energy efficient lighting and wind turbines are among the applications in which rare earths are critical.
Rare earths belong to the lanthanide series of elements with most only discovered in the last 120 years. Rare earths are more common than gold in the earth’s crust. The “rare” title comes from the limited economic abundance and from the complexity of extraction and processing.
Primero’s approach to self-performance meant that in-house resources were available at a moments notice to rapidly respond to emergent work and unplanned or out-of-scope events.
At time of publication, Northern Minerals intend to optimise the hydromet process as a means of reducing downstream solvent extraction separation costs before scaling throughput of the beneficiation plant to 585ktpa as to provide the hydromet plant with 16,700tpa of feed concentrate.