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Lynas remains committed to Malaysia - Lacaze

8th August 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – Rare earths miner Lynas has no plans to abandon its Malaysian operations with the start of refining activities in the US.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Diggers & Dealers conference, Lynas MD and CEO Amanda Lacaze said the Malaysian operations would remain an integral part of the Lynas business, despite the recent issues around the licensing conditions in the country.

Lynas in July launched two judicial review proceedings in the High Court of Malaysia seeking a judicial review of the Malaysian operating licence conditions, which prohibit the import and processing of lanthanide concentrate after January 2024.

The miner previously said that the licence conditions would limit operations at the Malaysian facility, and represented a significant variation from the conditions under which Lynas made the initial decision to invest in Malaysia. Further, the conditions do not follow the recommendations of the Malaysian government’s 2018 Executive Review Committee report on Lynas Malaysia’s operations, the Atomic Energy Licencing Board’s own audits of Lynas Malaysia’s operations or any of the other three prior independent expert scientific reviews of Lynas Malaysia’s operations.

“We've made a series of investments in Malaysia on the basis of certain set of licence conditions. And we have met those, so we continue to engage with government in Malaysia,” Lacaze said on Tuesday.

“I think in Malaysia, there's an increasing understanding, they can't rely on oil and gas forever. And they have a unique opportunity and rare earths, both in terms of upstream, because Malaysia has its own upstream resources, and also in terms of downstream industry development.”

“Malaysia will remain an important part of our business, I believe, for certainly some time, and I believe that ultimately as we have seen over the past decade, the Malaysian government will make decisions which are based upon evidence and science as opposed to purely on politics,” Lacaze said.

The company is also developing a rare earths processing facility in the US, and recently announced an updated contract with the US Department of Defence (DoD) under which the US government would cover up to $258-million of construction costs for the project.

Lynas’ US rare earths processing facility in Texas will serve both DoD and commercial customers and is targeted to be operational in the 2026 financial year.

Once operational, feedstock for the facility will be sourced from the Lynas Mt Weld rare earths deposit and Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility in Western Australia. Mt Weld is recognised as a world-class source of light and heavy rare earth minerals. The US facility will be able to process feedstock from other sources if/when they become available and are qualified.

The US facility will process 2 500 t/y to 3 000 t/y of heavy rare earth products and up to 5 000 t/y of light rare earth products, including 1 250 t/y of neodymium praseodymium.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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