Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU)
Northern Minerals Limited (ASX:NTU) is focussed on the development of heavy rare earths projects, in particular the element dysprosium. Through the development of its flagship project, Browns Range, Northern Minerals aims to be the next significant dysprosium producer outside of China.
Northern Minerals listed on the ASX in November 2006 as Northern Uranium. It was created by its two shareholders, Washington Resources and Polaris Metals, to be a uranium focussed mineral exploration company. The Company’s flagship asset was the Gardiner-Tanami Project, in northern Australia on the WA and NT border, which it was developing through a strategic alliance with global nuclear leader Areva.
In 2009, a reconnaissance program returned significant results for rare earths, in particular, heavy rare earths (HRE) such as dysprosium. With the positive geological results and increasing HRE prices, the Company committed resources to the exploration and development of HRE.
In 2010, Northern Minerals increased its focus on HRE, expanding its portfolio with a number of tenement acquisitions, and commenced a ground based HRE-targeted reconnaissance program across Browns Range. Reflecting this change, the Company changed its name in early 2011 from Northern Uranium to Northern Minerals.
The first HRE drill results from Browns Range were received in 2011, confirming four exciting prospects of xenotime mineralisation, with high value dysprosium. Further exploration across the area identified the deposits were part of a significant geological structure known as the Browns Range Dome, with a number of other exploration targets also identified.
In late 2012, following highly successful drill campaigns, Northern Minerals announced the Browns Range Project’s (the Project) maiden JORC HRE resource, and to date this resource has increased by 400%. During this same period, Northern Minerals announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an offtake agreement with global materials company Sumitomo Corporation.
Northern Minerals has since continued the Project along its pathway to production through the completion of the Project’s Pre-feasibility Study and Definitive Feasibility Study in 2014 and 2015, respectively. During this time Northern Minerals also made significant progression in respect to the Project’s approvals with the signing of a Co-existence Agreement with the Traditional Owners, the Jaru People, and granting of the Project’s primary environmental approval and mining lease.