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Kimberley Rare Earths secures key rare earths metallurgical expert for Cummins Range

Kimberley Rare Earths (ASX: KRE) has appointed Michael Chan as General Manager - Project Development  for Cummins Range. 

The appointment is a coup for KRE as rare earths metallurgical expertise is known to be almost non‐existent outside of China.

Chan, who will take the reins in mid-December 2011, has direct experience on the Mt Weld rare earths project being developed by Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC).

His experience with Mt Weld commenced in 1989 when he was Manager ‐ Metallurgy/Process Engineering for the project with Ashton Mining Limited. During that time, Chan developed a unique process flow sheet for the complex Mt Weld metallurgy and co‐authored a technical paper on this subject with Dudley Kingsnorth.

Chan established Lynas’ presence in Kuantan, Malaysia. Lynas has since gone on to build their $270 million downstream rare earth metallurgical facility at Gebeng.

The large and complex Nolans Bore rare earth deposit in Northern Territory is being developed towards production by Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU). He joined Arafura in 2009 as Procurement/Supply Chain Manager where he has worked until joining KRE.

Tim Dobson, managing director, commented on his support for the appointment, adding "Michael brings world class rare earth project experience and critical Asian network connectivity to the role.

"His appointment strongly supports our resolve to differentiate KRE as a serious and capable rare earths project development company that is committed to the rapid but disciplined development of Cummins Range”.

Milestone delivery timetable

One of Kimberley’s three strategic objectives is to evaluate the flagship Cummins Range rare earths project for the purpose of achieving near term commercial development.

The objective has been developed into a strategic business plan, now budgeted and approved by the board, and requires the services of an experienced rare earths project manager to lead the three phases of studies, which Chan will do working with Geoff Collis (general manager - exploration).

Milestone deliveries for Kimberley include:

- Preliminary Evaluation Study for delivery by July 2012;
- Pre‐Feasibility Study with forecast completion in 2013; and
- Bankable Feasible Studies with forecast completion in 2015.