Australian Energy infrastructure business, APA Group, has signed an agreement with Arafura Rare Earths to commence early work for a cogeneration plant, which will supply energy to one of Arafura’s upcoming projects, Nolans Rare Earth Project.
The Nolans project includes a rare earth mine, processing plant and related infrastructure which will be constructed 135 kms north of Alice Springs.
Arafura selected APA as the preferred independent power provider through a formal competitive tender process. Under the early work agreement, APA will undertake the project development and engineering design planning work for the proposed cogeneration plant, which is expected to include a gas turbine generator. The generator will supply electricity and a waste heat recovery system will also be implemented to supply steam.
APA CEO and Managing Director, Adam Watson, said that the infrastructure business is excited to be a part of the global decarbonisation process.
“As the energy sector continues to transition, the global demand for critical minerals, which are essential to a range of clean energy technologies, will increase significantly in coming years.
“The Nolans Project is particularly rich with neodymium and praseodymium – minerals that are key to the production of a range of green technologies including electric vehicles, wind turbines and consumer electronics.
“We are excited to play this role in the global decarbonisation process and contribute towards bringing these critical minerals to market,” Mr Watson said.
“We will also work with Arafura to explore how we can deliver a bundled energy solution, pairing reliable gas firming with renewables, for the project.
“This is part of APA’s commitment to partnering with our customers across the resources sector to deliver efficient, cost-effective, reliable and low emissions energy for today and tomorrow.”
The cogeneration plant would potentially be connected to APA’s nearby Amadeus Gas Pipeline. The proposed cogeneration plant and related long-term power purchase agreement is subject to further negotiations between APA and Arafura and approvals by each party.
Arafura has secured offtake agreements with a Tier 1 global electric vehicle manufacturer and wind turbine manufacturer, with the project to support the growing demand for critical minerals needed to support the energy transition.
Early work for the Nolans project is set to commence immediately and is predicted to be completed by 2024.