LYNAS SNARES RARE EARTHS CON­TRACT

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - RAY CHAN

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.

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