VHM (ASX: VHM) has reached a fundamental milestone in its plans to commercialise its Goschen rare earths and mineral sands project in North West Victoria with a critical piece of the approvals process about to get underway.

The Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the Goschen Project public exhibition commences today, 20 November 2023, for a period of 40 business days.

VHM chief executive officer Ron Douglas said the public exhibition phase of the EES marks a significant milestone in the Goschen approvals process and an achievement for all involved in the project to date.

“This is one step closer to the planned construction in 2024 as well as moving toward contributing to Australia’s supply and trade position in the global critical rare earth markets,” Mr Douglas said.

“This is a culmination of five years of works to assess and mitigate the environmental aspects of the project. We look forward to continued engagement with and contribution to the community as we deliver the Goschen Project.”

2025 production target

Located in the premier mineral sands province in North West Victoria, Goschen is targeted to enter construction subject to ministerial approvals in the second half of 2024, allowing the company to achieve first production in 2025.

Goschen is currently estimated to contain a deposit of 413,107 tonnes of total rare earth oxide with an accompanying world-class mineral sands resource.

While Goschen has a current proved and probable ore reserve of 210 million tonnes (Mt), the scalability of the project is underpinned by a significant mineral resource inventory of 629 Mt comprising measured, indicated and inferred resources with further resource expansion potential.

Upcoming milestones

Following a positive completion of the public exhibition, independent panel hearing and remaining Approvals assessment outcomes, the VHM board will be in a position to render a final investment decision for the Goschen Project.

VHM completed an updated definitive feasibility study in March 2023, which confirmed Goschen can achieve a nameplate production rate based on a feed rate to the process plant of 5 Mt per annum to initially produce and market high-value rare earths and mineral sands concentrate products to national and international consumers, with a mine life well in excess of 20 years.

Victoria’s capacity to supply global critical minerals markets

In addition to developing Goschen for a 2025 production target, VHM is focused on further maturing its Cannie and Nowie Projects situated nearby, within the Critical Minerals Province VHM discovered in north west Victoria earlier in the year.

This approvals milestone goes beyond VHM’s Goschen Project and paves the way for peer developers in Victoria’s critical mineral sectors; as a potential catalyst for bringing mining wealth back to Victoria’s regions and the state.

Published by Small Caps