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ASX-listed Arafura Rare Earths has struck a neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) offtake agreement with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation.

The offtake agreement for the Nolans NdPr will cover an initial seven-year term, and can be extended by a further five years, by mutual agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hyundai can choose whether to be supplied with NdPr oxide or its equivalent in NdPr metal, and contract volumes for NdPr oxide are 600 t/y in year one, increasing to 1 500 t/y in years four to seven to align with ramp-up of the project.

Supply of NdPr is currently anticipated to commence in calendar year 2025 subject to project financing, completion of construction and development and commissioning of the project.

Offtake pricing will be determined using a formula-based mechanism, and the offtake agreement will be subject to certain conditions precedent being satisfied no later than the end of June 2026, such as the completion of the construction and development of the Nolans project, and the start of commercial production and ramp-up.

“We are delighted to have concluded negotiations to execute our first binding offtake agreement which includes the exercise of the option provided in the memorandum of understanding to take the full offtake volume of 1 500 t/y in relation to the Nolans project. This establishes the foundation for a long-term partnership, and we are proud to have committed to supplying NdPr to Hyundai, a respected global automotive leader,” said Arafura MD Gavin Lockyer.

In addition, Arafura has also entered into a non-binding heads of agreement (HoA) with Hyundai, under which Arafura will commence discussions for strategic investment with Hyundai and its affiliates.

Any subscription funds raised by Arafura are intended to be applied towards funding a portion of the equity component of the development funding required for the project. The potential investment has not yet been determined and is subject to further negotiation between the parties.

Arafura is expected to start production from Nolans in 2025 and the project will ramp up to 4 440 t/y capacity by 2027. An updated feasibility study estimated that over a mine life of 38 years, the A$90.8-million project would produce 4 440 t/y of NdPr oxide and 474 t/y of heavy rare earth oxide, as well as 144 393 t/y of phosphoric acid.