PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Rare earths miner Lynas has reported a 9% increase in neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) volumes during the three months to March, as the company’s NEXT project advanced.
Lynas in the December quarter of last year launched a A$35-million investment into its NEXT programme, which is aimed at enhancing its capacity to meet current and future demand.
The NEXT project would improve plant reliability and recoveries, increase production, deliver a higher value product mix and increase customer engagement.
At its completion production of NdPr will increase to a sustainable 600 t/m. In addition, new separation and processing capability will deliver a broader and more differentiated product range allowing Lynas to participate in expanded and higher value segments.
Lynas on Monday reported that NdPr production for the March quarter had increased to 1 332 t, while total rare earth oxide production was stable at 4 110 t. This was in line with expectations, despite challenges, which included regulatory inspections, works undertaken as part of Lynas NEXT, and a significant restriction in the Kuantan water supply in late January.
Rare earth sales volumes for the quarter were also down slightly from the 4 495 t in the previous quarter, to 4 375 t, with sales revenue decreasing from A$93-million to A$85.9-million, reflecting a slight reduction in the average selling price, and some effect from the timing of orders.
Looking ahead, Lynas told shareholders that the company was on track to achieve increased NdPr production of around 500 t/m by April this year, and its 600 t/m target from January 2019.