Concepcion-based Chilean engineering company Pares & Alvarez will advance feasibility study work on Hochschild-backed Aclara Resources’ proposed US$130 million Penco rare earths project, where construction of a pilot plant is said to be progressing.
TSX-listed Aclara said Pares & Alvarez had nearly three decades of experience designing and building similar mining and industrial projects in Chile and offshore. The firm established an office in Australia in 2021.
Aclara raised US$100 million late in 2021 to advance work on what it calls its Penco Module pilot plant, feasibility study, exploration and permitting. That work was expected to cost about $67 million.
An updated resource estimate for the Penco neodymium and dysprosium rich ionic clay RE deposit (circa 29.2 million tonnes) was said to support a plan for a 15-year operation with production potentially starting in 2026.
Construction of the pilot plant is scheduled for completion by the end of June this year and Aclara wants to wrap up the feasibility study in the first half of next year.
“Pares & Alvarez has a reputation for designing cost effective, and fit-for-purpose mine and process facilities and bring a wealth of local project development knowledge due to their long-standing presence in Concepcion, Chile,” Aclara chief operating officer, Barry Murphy said.
“Aclara is pleased to continue its support of the local Chilean workforce through awarding the contract to P&A, as the design work will be undertaken in their offices in Concepcion.
“We look forward to working collectively with P&A to advance the Penco feasibility study.”
Aclara has a current market capitalisation around C$70 million.