LYNAS SNARES RARE EARTHS CONTRACT
Lynas Corporation, which operates one of the highest grade rare earths mines in the world at Mt Weld in WA, has been awarded a Phase 1 contract to construct a heavy rare earth separation facility by the US Department of Defense.
The US military will give it initial funding for the facility in Texas as part of Washington’s push to secure domestic supply of the essential minerals that China currently dominates.
The project, involving Australia-based Lynas and its joint venture partner Blue Line, will involve processing of heavy rare earths, with Lynas planning to ship from Mt Weld for final processing at the Texas facility.
Once the planning work is complete, Lynas said it would be subject to another evaluation by the US military before receiving any further funding to build the facility.
Analysts had expected Lynas, the largest producer of rare earths outside China, to be selected for initial heavy rare earths funding because of its market experience.
The United States is actively looking to reduce its reliance on other countries for the supply of the essential elements which have gained prominence, after the US-China trade war last year fuelled worries that Beijing may use its dominance to restrict supply.
Lynas did not mention any deadlines for the project nor the volumes it may be required to produce.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Lynas Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze said the announcement created the foundation for a facility in the US that will assist the country to avoid the supply chain vulnerability that it had been exposed over the past year.
She said Lynas was confident it would be able to meet the conditions set by the US Department of Defense.
Lynas Corporation’s Mt Weld mine near Laverton, WA.