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Hastings Technology Metals has begun site works on its Yangibana rare earths project in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

According to a company statement, Hastings has moved personnel and equipment to the site in readiness for early infrastructure and earthworks activities.

The first period of construction includes works on access roads connecting the site to public roads, a 2000-metre-long airstrip capable of accommodating aircraft up to 50-seat capacity, and a 300-bed accommodation village.

It will also include a multi-tower communications microwave link to connect the site to the public network, water reticulation from the borefield to the processing plant, as well as ongoing geotechnical activities.

The works form part of a $20 million package for site surface infrastructure prior to commencement of plant construction and mine development.

Hastings executive chairman Charles Lew said the construction works are a big step for the company.

“It is hugely exciting to get boots on the ground and a major project milestone for Hastings and our shareholders on a journey that began in 2014 to develop the Yangibana rare earths project,” Lew said.

“Following the highly successful equity raising in February and underpinned by the good progress we are making to secure debt financing, Hastings has had the confidence to commence early infrastructure works at Yangibana.

Lew said being proactive at Yangibana was pivotal to realising the full potential of the site’s resources.

“Getting an early start will allow Hastings to manage the overall timetable to production of our first mixed rare earths concentrate, which contains high levels of neodymium and praseodymium,” Lew said.

“The scope of these initial works is being carried out by the Hastings team, a credit to the calibre and experience we have built into our team over the past six months.

The Yangibana project includes the development of five open pit mines, groundwater abstraction, on-site processing of ore, tailings storage facilities and supporting infrastructure.