Northern Minerals Ltd. has made the decision to partially restart operations at the company’s Browns Range Heavy Rare Earths Pilot Plant Project as well as recommence exploration activities across its tenements in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The decision follows the lifting of the commonwealth’s biosecurity restrictions that applied to the Kimberley region as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) control measures, which was the catalyst for the company placing the project on care-and-maintenance at the end of March.

Northern Minerals has commenced planning and logistics to support the restart of operations at the pilot plant, which will initially focus on testwork in the beneficiation circuit followed by tests in the hydrometallurgical circuit. The company will also proceed with the mechanical construction and installation of ore-sorting equipment at the front-end of the pilot plant.

Exploration activity across the Browns Range tenement package will also be ramped-up, with a budget of $4.5 million to $5 million being allocated for greenfields exploration, further evaluation of identified mineralization and to boost confidence in resources, with the objective of increasing the overall life-of-mine potential of the project, the company said.