PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Rare earths miner Lynas on Tuesday told shareholders that it would relocate a planned processing facility from its Kuantan operations in Malaysia, to its operations in Western Australia.
Speaking at an investor conference, CEO and MD Amanda Lacaze noted that the cracking and leaching facility formed part of a greater A$500-million growth initiative that would see Lynas produce 10 500 t/y of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) by 2025.
The cracking and leaching plant would be subject to relevant approvals, with Lynas already having narrowed down the possible sites for the plant to the Mt Weld mine and Kalgoorlie.
The relocation of the proposed cracking and leaching plant away from Malaysia would also satisfy requirements from the Malaysian government that Lynas lessen the volume of low-level radioactive waste accumulated at its processing hub.
Lynas CFO Gaudenz Struzenegger told shareholders that the A$500-million in capital expenditure required for Lynas’ growth plans would be funded from existing cash balances and from operating cash flow, as well as some $162-million of existing debt, of which $15-million was convertible bonds.
The remaining A$147-million in debt consisted of an outstanding facility with Japan Australia Rare Earths (JARE), an arm of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, which would mature in mid-2020.
Struzenegger noted that Lynas was currently in active negotiations with JARE to extend this debt to 2025, or beyond, with JARE already having extended its support for the proposed debt extensions.
Lynas’ recent deal with US-based Blue Line to develop rare earth separation capacity in the US also formed part of the A$500-million capital spend, along with a concentrator upgrade at the Mt Weld operation and the development of downstream processing in Malaysia.