American engineering firm Fluor Corporation expects to start building Iluka Resources’ A$1.2 billion Eneabba rare earths refinery in mid-west Western Australia in the second half of this year after clinching the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract.
Announcing its final investment decision earlier this year, ASX-listed Iluka said the refinery’s cracking and leaching plant would cost up to $200 million, the separation and finishing section up to $390m, and other plant and infrastructure circa-$140m. Project indirect costs, owner’s costs, commissioning, growth and contingency added a further $400-470m.
First production from the 55,000 tonnes per annum facility is scheduled for 2025.
It will produce about 17,500t of light and heavy rare earth oxides including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium from Iluka and third-party sources.
Iluka’s circa-1 million tonnes of stockpiled monazite and xenotime, containing the rare earths, at Eneabba has been stored since the 1990s when it was produced as by-product from Iluka’s Narngulu mineral processing plant.
New York-listed Fluor is based in Texas and last year generated $12.4 billion of revenue.