Arafura flags greenhouse gas emissions reduction pathway for Nolans rare earths project

Arafura flags greenhouse gas emissions reduction pathway for Nolans rare earths project

Arafura has released its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction pathway for the electric power and steam requirements for its Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) project in the Northern Territory.

The chosen path consists of renewable sources of electric power (solar photovoltaic (PV), wind power and batteries), combined with large-scale thermal energy storage (TES) to provide a consistent source of renewable thermal energy for steam generation – with the aim of 50 % of project power by 2030.

The TES will be heated from concentrated solar thermal (CST), and benefit from:

Low cost of solar PV and wind power for electricity generation; Large part of energy required as steam (about three times the electricity requirement); and Relatively low cost of TES compared to electrical energy storage (EES). Net zero producer of NdPr oxide

The reduction path of electric power and thermal power as steam generation together account for approximately 85% of the project’s predicted emissions.

“The GHG emissions reduction pathway developed for Nolans demonstrates the viability of Arafura Rare Earths becoming a net zero producer of NdPr oxide,” Arafura (ASX:ARU) managing director Gavin Lockyer said.

“NdPr is critical for many of the products needed to achieve a global net zero future, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines.

“By publicly releasing our GHG emissions reduction pathway for stationary power, we provide our customers, investors and other stakeholders with a better understanding of how we intend to meet our net zero 2050 commitments.

“As a result, the pathway will also help our customers achieve their own greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.”

Cost-effective path to net zero

The Company says the reduction route is likely to reduce total energy costs over the first 14 years of production and result in only a minor increase in costs over the life of mine.

The cost outcomes for the chosen path include:

Before 2030, the estimated gas price equivalent cost of the chosen path is A$6.10 per GJ, which is less than the project’s base case gas price of $A8.34 per GJ (including transportation); Before 2040, the estimated gas price equivalent cost of the chosen path is A$8.20 per GJ, roughly equivalent to the use of gas (including transport); and Estimated average cost of the chosen path over the life of mine (LOM) is equivalent to generating all energy from gas at a gas price of A$9.70 per GJ.

Graph: The energy cost as an equivalent gas price for the chosen path as a comparison with the current project base case of continued generation using natural gas at an assumed gas price of A$8.34 per GJ (including transport costs).

Decarbonization of rare earth measurement processing

“We recognize that we will need to address a range of challenges in decarbonizing rare earth processing, which is an inherently energy-intensive process,” Lockyer said.

“Nevertheless, the Arafura team is committed to implementing a practical, cost-effective path to net zero.

“We will closely monitor changes in the price, technology maturity and availability of relevant technologies, such as long-term energy storage, and update the pathway for reducing GHG emissions in the future if it is appropriate to do so.”

A demonstration scale, proof of concept, concentrated solar thermal system combined with thermal energy storage is planned before 2030.

This article was developed in collaboration with Arafura Rare Earths Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publication.

This article is not financial product advice. You should consider seeking independent advice before making any financial decisions.

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