ASX-listed rare earths producer Lynas has been awarded “major project status” by the Australian government for its rare earths processing plant, in Kalgoorlie.
The award helps provide a single entry point for commonwealth government approvals, as well as project support and assistance with state government approvals.
In December, the Western Australian government awarded the processing plant “lead agency” status.
The Kalgoorlie plant will undertake cracking and leaching of rare earth concentrate from Lynas’ Mt Weld mine, which is located in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.
Lynas says the plant will be a foundation for the development of infrastructure in Kalgoorlie, including utilities and the production of chemicals used in mineral processing beyond the rare earths industry.
Lynas’ Kalgoorlie processing plant aligns with key government policies, including the Critical Minerals Strategy, and policies around regional development, value-added processing and infrastructure development.
“Developing a robust and resilient critical minerals and rare earths industry is a priority for the Australian government and Lynas is in a unique position to contribute to this as we are the only significant rare earths producer outside of China.
“This formal support by the Australian government recognises the importance of our new processing plant in Kalgoorlie to Australia’s critical minerals aspirations, as well as to jobs and investment in regional Western Australia. Lynas will be making a significant investment in Kalgoorlie, while government’s assistance with coordinating and facilitating approvals will be helpful as the project progresses,” says MD and CEO Amanda Lacaze.
Lynas last year selected Kalgoorlie as the location for its new cracking and leaching plant, which will form part of its 2025 growth plans, with the Malaysian government earlier also renewing the company’s operating licence in Malaysia on the condition that its cracking and leaching operations in that country be closed down within the next four years.
The plant is expected to be operational by early 2023.