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Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility, Australia – update

Image of mounds of rare earths

23rd June 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility.

Location
Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Rare earths miner Lynas Kalgoorlie, a subsidiary of rare earths developer Lynas Rare Earths.

Project Description
The project entails the construction and operation of the Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility.

The project will process rare-earth concentrate, sourced from Lynas’ Mt Weld mine, to produce a rare-earth carbonate for export.

The processing facility site will comprise an acid cracking kiln and leaching plant, which will process material from the Mt Weld mine site.

Associated infrastructure includes small, temporary by-product (gypsum and iron phosphate) storage areas at the facility, and are not intended to provide long-term storage.

Rare-earth concentrate feed is estimated at up to 162 000 t/y to produce 68 800 t/y of rare-earth carbonate.

Processing facility-derived waste and/or by-product is estimated at up to 132 000 t/y of iron phosphate and up to 330 000 t/y of gypsum.

The life of the project is 25 years.

Potential Job Creation
About 290 positions are expected to be created during construction.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
A$500-million, including associated upgrades at the Lynas Malaysia plant.

Planned Start/End Date
The first production of mixed rare-earth carbonate from the Kalgoorlie facility is expected in August 2023.

Latest Developments
Lynas has highlighted labour shortages as a potential challenge to the development of its Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility.

The commissioning of the plant is being undertaken in four phases, with the final Stage 2 commissioning having started in June 2023.

Chemical and wet circuits, including neutralisation, filtration and carbonation circuits, will be fed with rare-earth carbonate from Lynas Malaysia, which will allow for the completion of Stage 4 commissioning of those circuits.

Major earthworks, including ponds required for production and on-site services, including power, water and laboratory facilities, will be completed during this time and all materials required for production will be received at on-site storage facilities.

Stage 4 process commissioning is on track for completion by the end of June, with the exception of two critical path items – the waste gas treatment plant and on-site gas supply – which presented early challenges. Mitigation strategies were implemented.

Further challenges to the completion of these two items have arisen, including a lack of availability of suitably qualified people to fully staff 24 hr construction activities and the late delivery of equipment required for finalisation of commissioning.

While Lynas has sourced additional labour, the full effect of these two items could not be fully mitigated, the miner has said, adding that the timing is within the range of ramp-up scenarios considered for the Kalgoorlie facility.

Lynas has reported that the commissioning of other productive equipment will continue unimpeded while these two items are completed.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Lynas Rare Earths, tel +61 8 6241 3800.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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