A Melbourne-based company that is developing a rare earth project at Nyngan says a disagreement with its joint venture partner will not stop the project going ahead, despite delays as the dispute reaches the Victorian Supreme Court.
Jervois Mining told the Australian Stock Exchange this month that it was unable to resolve a dispute with Canadian-based partner EMC Metals Corporation (EMC), and that it had begun the court proceedings to determine the latter’s entitlement to a joint venture interest in the Nyngan Scandium Project that had been signed off in February 2010.
Jervois Mining managing director Duncan Pursell said ongoing metallurgical work had been taking place at the site but an environmental impact statement that was being prepared had ground to a halt.
He said while it was uncertain how long the matter would take to resolve in court, the dispute related to the acceptability of a feasibility study that had been prepared for either party to take to potential financiers in order to seek funding for the project.
Despite the setback, Mr Pursell said the project was still expected to create about 20 to 30 jobs when the mine was up and running.
Scandium and its alloys are used in the aerospace, sports equipment, laser research, welding and electronic industries, and its use is restricted because of its scarcity and because there
are no primary scandium mines in production in the world.
While scandium could be sourced from other locations, the Nyngan deposit was a particularly ‘clean’ one, according to Mr Pursell.
Meanwhile he said demand from potential scandium buyers and would-be partners was growing by the day.
“We have half a dozen companies that are interested but we’ve had to put those discussions on hold while this is sorted out,” he said.
Jervois Mining has joined mining company Alkane Resources, which has projects in the Dubbo region, in pledging to employ a local workforce.
“We’re not interested in fly-in, fly-out,” Mr Pursell said.
“We know there are ready and able mining workers around Nyngan and for many it would be preferable to moving to take up jobs in Western Australia.”