Albanese’s $840m Government boost to Arafura rare earths mine and refinery

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Katina Curtis
The Nightly
2 Min Read
The government views the project as a ground-breaking investment that will position Australia as a global leader in ethical and sustainable manufacturing of rare earths.
The government views the project as a ground-breaking investment that will position Australia as a global leader in ethical and sustainable manufacturing of rare earths. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

Rare earths developer Arafura will get $840 million in financing from federal funds to build its Nolans project near Alice Springs.

The Gina Rinehart-backed company has been building the ambitious mine and refinery project since 2023 in an effort to diversify Australia’s supply chains of the minerals used in powerful magnets as well as renewable energy and defence technologies.

The government views the project as a ground-breaking investment that will position Australia as a global leader in ethical and sustainable manufacturing of rare earths.

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It is stumping up about $30 million in grants plus financing of $495 million from the $4 billion Critical Minerals Facility, $200 million through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and up to $115 million through Export Finance Australia’s commercial arm.

Arafura Nolans aerial
Arafura Nolans aerial Credit: Unknown/Supplied

Arafura has secured matching funding from international partners.

The project is expected to create more than 200 jobs in the construction phase and 125 ongoing positions throughout its anticipated 38-year mine life, with Arafura aiming to employ Indigenous Australians for at least 20 per cent of its workforce.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the project would deliver critical jobs and economic development in the heart of the NT.

“This will create local jobs and economic opportunities, helping Australian and Territory companies and workers capture more value from the game-changing critical minerals deposits we have here,” he said.

Resources Minister Madeleine King said critical minerals from projects like Nolans would be crucial to the new technologies that would help Australia and its trading partners to lower emissions and meet climate goals.

“To meet our net zero targets we will need more mining, not less, to build the solar panels, batteries and wind farms we need to reduce emissions,” she said.

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