The Nolans project is an advanced rare earths project.

Arafura Resources

Nolans Project

Nolans Project factsheet PDF (858.3 KB)

Arafura Resources is an Australian company with a world-class rare earths resource in the Northern Territory of Australia. The Nolans Rare Earth project is well-advanced and Arafura is on track to enter the global supply chain this decade.


Market capitalisation:
A$80.1 million at 8 August 2019



Rare earth elements (neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium), phosphate

Contact details

Arafura Resources
Mr Gavin Lockyer
Managing Director
T: +61 8 6210 7666

To find out more about Investment Attraction in the Northern Territory contact the:

Investment Attraction
Minerals and Upstream Energy Investment
Australia’s Northern Territory Government
Department of Trade, Business and Innovation 
T: +61 8 8999 1385

The Nolans project is an advanced rare earths project located 135km north-northwest of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, close to infrastructure including the Alice Springs to Darwin railway and the Stuart Highway.

With JORC measured, indicated and inferred resources totalling 56 Mt, Nolans is one of the world’s largest and most intensively explored rare earths deposits, sufficient to support mining and processing operations for 30+ years. Nolans is also one of the world’s largest neodymiumpraseodymium (NdPr) deposits, with the potential to produce around 10% of global demand for NdPr magnet feed.

Compared with other light rare earth element-enriched projects of comparable scale around the world, Nolans has a higher proportion of rare earths that feed key growth markets in magnets [neodymium, praseodymium (NdPr), dysprosium] and phosphors (europium and yttrium).

The Resource contains 1.46 Mt of rare earth oxides, of which nearly 1 Mt are in the measured or indicated categories. Recent analysis revealed that NdPr is consistently distributed across the Nolans deposit. Importantly, the deposit contains a substantial inventory of phosphaterich material types.

The project’s February 2019 definitive feasibility study (DFS) forecast a profitable project with a moderate capital cost of US$726 million and ultra-low cash operating costs of US$25.94/kg of NdPr oxide. These numbers are based on annual rare earth output of 13,343 t TREO equivalent, including 4357 t NdPr oxide over a 23 year operation. Importantly the project offers product and revenue diversification with planned annual output of 135,800 t of merchant grade (54% P2O5) phosphoric acid.

With the Nolans project on target for commissioning in 2022, Arafura Resources is emerging as Australia’s next NdPr producer, and a stable long-term supplier of the critical minerals needed for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, renewable energy, defence and other sectors.

The Nolans Bore deposit is a hydrothermal stockwork vein-style deposit with steeply dipping veins up to tens of metres in thickness and hundreds of metres in length, extending below 25m drilled-depth across large parts of the deposit.

Apatite, allanite and monazite are the most abundant rare earth-bearing mineral species. The resource has been subjected to over 90,000m of drilling, including extensive diamond core drilling. The completion of detailed mineralogical and material type analysis have substantially de‑risked the resource.

The project is located in Australia’s Northern Territory, about 135km north-northwest of Alice Springs, 10km west of the Stuart Highway and close to the Alice Springs to Darwin railway. The project is remote in that there are no major competing land uses, but is not isolated as it is easily accessible to key transport routes. The Amadeus Basin-to-Darwin natural gas pipeline passes close by the project and a sizable water resource has been discovered near the site.

  • In February 2019, Arafura Resources released DFS results indicating a financially and technically robust project at Nolans. Base case results forecast average EBITDA of US$277 million per annum, NPV10 of US$479 million and IRR of 17.43%.
  • The project’s forecast US$25.94/kg NdPr operating cost after phosphoric acid by-product credits, would put Nolans in the lowest quartile of the cost curve of its peers.
  • The company is actively engaging with potential offtake partners, targeting NdPr users that are not aligned with the China 2025 strategy. Non-binding offtake agreements are already in place for 20% of the NdPr product.
  • The planned Nolans product suite includes NdPr oxide, lanthanum (La) oxide, SEG–HRE carbonate (samarium, europium, gadolinium – SEG and other Heavy Rare Earths – HRE), cerium (Ce) product, and phosphoricacid.
  • The Australian Government is currently assessing the project’s suitability for Nolans to receive debt funding from the A$5 billion Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which provides finance to support and encourage infrastructure development in northern Australia.
  • The Nolans project has been awarded Major Project Status by both the Northern Territory Government and Australian Government.
  • Government approvals are in place to construct the Nolans rare earths extraction facility in Australia’s Northern Territory. A Native Title agreement, water license and mining approvals are expected in 2019.
  • Arafura Resources plans a targeted drilling and metallurgical program aimed at substantially extending the current mine life of 23 years and further reducing operating costs.

Arafura Resources would prefer investment in the form of a minority equity investment in the company, a project joint venture or offtake agreement.

The measured, indicated and inferred mineral resources reported on 7 June 2017 at a 1% REO cut-off grade comprise:

Category Tonnes (Mt) Rare Earths (REO)% Tonnes REO Phosphate P2O3 Uranium U3O8 lb/t
Measured 4.9 3.2 158,000 13 0.54
Indicated 30 2.7 816,000 12 0.44
Inferred 21 2.3 489,000 10 0.36


This document includes information provided by third parties. The information is general in nature and is for information purposes only. The Northern Territory Government makes no representation about the veracity or accuracy of information provided by third parties. You must rely on your own due diligence before proceeding. You should consider seeking independent professional advice.
© Northern Territory Government, August 2019.