Hastings Technology Metals Limited (ASX:HAS) has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Estonian Government’s investment agency, Ettevotluse ja Innovatsiooni Sihtasutus (EIS) to collaborate on a joint scoping study into the potential development of downstream rare earth processing capabilities in Estonia.
Following the release of the Staged Development Feasibility Study in May 2023, Hastings’ primary focus is the construction of the Yangibana Rare Earths Project’s mine in WA and beneficiation plant to produce a rare earth mineral concentrate for export to its offtake partners and enable a quicker pathway to early project cashflows.
In parallel, Hastings continues to assess the potential to capture more of the rare earth value chain through downstream processing of its concentrate to produce a mixed rare earth carbonate.
The agreement with EIS provides a framework for both parties to assess a number of joint collaboration objectives, including:
- investigating a streamlined process for planning and permitting to expedite any future project in Estonia;
- exploration of financial support mechanisms from the Estonian Government, including both direct and indirect tax incentives;
- identification and allocation of appropriate land access; and
- emphasising the use of renewable energy sources for the project to minimise its carbon
This agreement builds on Estonia’s existing rare earth mineral processing capabilities and strongly aligns with the Estonian Government’s objectives to strengthen Estonia and the EU’s ability to provide strategic materials needed for electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies.
It is also aligned to Hastings’ long-term vision to build a European-centric mine-to-magnet supply chain, building on its strategic 21.15% shareholding in Neo Performance Materials Inc., a leading global manufacturer of rare earth magnetic products.
Neo currently owns the only operating commercial rare earth separation facility in Europe, located in Sillamae, Estonia, and is currently constructing a sintered rare earth magnet manufacturing facility in Narva, Estonia with production expected from 2025.
“Hastings is delighted to establish this partnership with the Estonian Government to evaluate downstream processing opportunities, as a natural extension of our ongoing work to maximise value from the Yangibana Rare Earths Project,” Hastings Executive Chairman, Charles Lew, said.
“This is also builds on our strategic investment into Neo Performance Materials to advance our vision of building a rare earth magnet supply chain for the European market, in line with the ongoing focus from European Union member states such as Germany to secure alternative sources for critical raw materials.”