Dubbo Project in spotlight after Trump signs new defence act

SHORTFALL: Alkane Resources reports that world demand for rare earth magnets is outstripping supply and a shortfall could be as close as 2020. Photo: Contributed
SHORTFALL: Alkane Resources reports that world demand for rare earth magnets is outstripping supply and a shortfall could be as close as 2020. Photo: Contributed

Donald Trump may inadvertently speed up development of the $1.3 billion Dubbo Project.

He has approved a new defence act that includes a ban on buying rare earth magnets from “prohibited countries”.

They include China where 90 per cent of the world’s rare earth magnets are produced.

China has supplied about 90 per cent of the magnets used by the United States (US) military.

The Dubbo Project taps into deposits of rare earths, hafnium, niobium and zirconium at Toongi.

Owner, Alkane Resources, reports that rare earth metals are used to make magnets across the  automobile, renewable energy, aerospace, robotics and telecommunications industries globally.

The company’s managing director Nic Earner tells of a “limited supply” of rare earths coming on line in western countries and a forecast shortfall of rare earth magnets by 2020.

“Alkane’s Dubbo Project is one of the few in the world which does not have a major Chinese shareholding or offtake committed to China,” he said.

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Mr Earner said the company continued to be “very tenacious” in its bid to find financiers for the Dubbo Project.

He points to positive signs for its future development including “rising prices, trade wars against the primary supplier, increasing consumption and new technologies”.

“There’s a lot of macro reasons why our time will come,” Mr Earner said.

The Dubbo Project is construction ready and has all approvals in place. 

Work to date has been funded by Tomingley Gold Operations (TGO).

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Alkane Resources made a profit after tax of $24.5 million in 2017/2018.

It was driven by “excellent production and cost performance” at TGO.

CONSTRUCTION READY: The Dubbo Project's orebody at Toongi. Photo: Contributed

CONSTRUCTION READY: The Dubbo Project's orebody at Toongi. Photo: Contributed

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