Residents’ forum on rare earths

RESIDENTS in the Margaret Crescent area of Dubbo should have received a flyer in their mailbox yesterday inviting them to attend a community consultation session on the proposed $1 billion Dubbo Zirconia Project.

It will include a project overview and site layout, environmental considerations including the reactivation of railway line that runs parallel to the crescent and the social, economic and educational benefits to Dubbo.

The community consultation session will be hosted by Australia Zirconia Ltd managing director Ian Chalmers and held next Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm in the Dubbo RSL theatrette.

Other topics addressed will include the naturally occurring radioactive material, impact on local flora and fauna as well as a community question and answer session.

Alkane’s NSW general manager Mike Sutherland said Mr Chalmers hoped to provide an opportunity for the Dubbo community to hear more about the Dubbo Zirconia Project and to ask questions.

A recent statement to the Australian Stock Exchange from Alkane indicated further exploration had revealed another significant lode of rare earths about four kilometres from the Toongi site, which already has a world class resource of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, tantalum, yttrium and rare earths.

Extensive zirconium, niobium, yttrium and rare earth mineralisation has been identified at the Railway prospect northwest of the main Toongi orebody.

The grades within the Railway site are about 50 per cent of the Toongi deposit however, additional drilling will need to continue before a resource can be defined, the statement said.

The rare earth distribution at Railway is about 30 per cent heavy rare earths and 70 per cent light rare earths, slightly higher than Toongi which has a 25 per cent to 75 per cent distribution.

The proved and probable ore reserves at the Toongi deposit are 35.9 million tonnes at 1.93 per cent zirconium, 0.04 per cent hafnium, 0.46 per cent niobium, 0.03 per cent tantalum, 0.14 per cent yttrium, 0.74 per cent rare earth oxides (0.9 per cent total rare earth oxides).

Alkane is expected to invest $1 billion in the project and it was expected to create 800 jobs.