Client
Iluka Resources
Location
Eneabba, WA, Australia

Eneabba Rare Earths Refinery

Iluka Resources is set to build Australia's first fully integrated rare earths refinery for the production of separated rare earth oxides at Eneabba, Western Australia.

This development is fully funded under a risk sharing arrangement between Iluka and the Australian Government. The refinery will produce both light and heavy separated rare earth oxides and be capable of processing feedstocks from Iluka's portfolio and from a range of third-party suppliers. This includes both mineral sands and rare earths deposits.

Rare earths are among the key building blocks of an electrified economy. Iluka's refinery will establish Western Australia as a strategic hub for the downstream processing of rare earth resources.

Fluor was selected to perform engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) for the project. The awarded works include a further front-end engineering design, which will utilize Fluor's project delivery experience in optimizing execution plans, cost and schedule.



Client's Challenge

The $1-1.2-billion project will produce high-value neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium and terbium. These separated rare earth oxides are critical to a range of technologies, including electrical vehicles, clean energy generation, advanced electronics and medical and defense applications.

Eneabba is the highest-grade rare earths operation globally. It currently consists of Iluka's unique stockpile of the rare earth bearing minerals monazite and xenotime, as well as the company's Phase 1 (screening) and Phase 2 (concentrating) plant.

Phase 3 (refinery) will build on this existing operation to deliver a significant downstream infrastructure asset comprising roasting, leaching, purification, solvent extraction and product finishing. The refinery will be fed initially from the Eneabba stockpile.



Fluor's Solution

Fluor will collaborate with Iluka to design fundamental aspects of the refinery, including cracking, leaching and purification, solvent extraction and product finishing circuits. Fluor's Perth, Australia, office will lead the project, with support from Fluor's offices in New Delhi, Manila and Johannesburg.



Conclusion

The refinery is expected to have a throughput capacity of approximately 55,000 tonnes per annum to produce an estimated 17,500 tonnes per annum of rare earth oxides. Construction is expected to commence in 2022, with first production earmarked for 2025.