Northern Minerals cranks up Browns Range

After what could be only described as a difficult and trying period for Northern Minerals, the Company's fortunes are turning in a very positive way following the recent $30 million investment by Huatai Mining.

In late 2015, when an earlier funding deal fell through, George Bauk and his team went back to the drawing board to fashion a plan to get the Browns Range heavy rare earths project back on track.

Recognising the lukewarm sentiment of the market earlier this year to the full scale development of Browns Range, the project team reworked the numbers and plans, with a Pilot Plant development project deemed the optimal way forward.

At 10% of the full plant scale of 600,000tpa, the Pilot Plant provides Northern Minerals with an opportunity to build a proof of concept plant and develop relationships with offtake and downstream partners.

Earlier this week, Northern Minerals received the first $9 million tranche from Huatai, with the second and third tranches for the same amount due before the end of November and December. Following receipt of each of the first and third tranches, Hautai will have the right to nominate a non-executive director to the Northern Minerals Board.

With funds in the bank, Northern Minerals has developed an accelerated plan that will allow a final investment decision to be made by mid-Q1 2017. Included in this plan is infill drilling, tie-in of the water borefield, camp expansion, engineering and design, financing and contract preparation.

The busy period for the next 3-4 months is just the start. Once the final investment decision is made, we can expect a flurry of activity over the course of 2017 as mining and construction crews are mobilised, all with the aim of having first production before the end of 2017.

Its fair to say that the Northern Minerals team won't be having an extended Christmas break on the beach this year.

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