20/05/2019 - 09:55

Lynas to develop US processing facility

20/05/2019 - 09:55

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Lynas Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with US-based Blue Line Corporation to set up a rare earths separation facility in Texas, following ongoing regulatory issues at its processing plant in Malaysia.

Lynas to develop US processing facility
Lynas is locked in a dispute with the Malaysian government over waste disposal from its plant.

Lynas Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with US-based Blue Line Corporation to set up a rare earths separation facility in Texas, following ongoing regulatory issues at its processing plant in Malaysia.

In a joint statement, the companies said rare earths separation capacity has been absent from the US for several years, and the joint venture aims to fill a key supply chain gap for US manufacturers.

The JV will be majority owned by Lynas, and will initially focus on heavy rare earths separation but may also include light rare earths separation.

Lynas and Blue Line will work together over the next year to develop the proposed processing facility.

The cost of the facility was not disclosed.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze said the JV was an exciting opportunity to develop local separation capacity for its customers in the US.

“We already have an excellent commercial partnership with Blue Line serving key North American customers and we are looking forward to working closely with Blue Line over the next 12 months as we develop this joint venture,” she said.

Last month, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Lynas must remove years of accumulated radioactive waste at the plant if it was to have its license renewed.

Lynas had earlier indicated that it was considering building new processing facilities, given the situation in Malaysia.

Last month, Lynas reported a near 33 per cent rise in its third-quarter production of rare earth oxides.

In March, Wesfarmers launched a $1.5 billion indicative takeover offer for Lynas, which was rejected a day later.

Earlier this month, Wesfarmers made a $776 million bid for lithium-focused Kidman Resources.

Lynas is the world's only major producer of rare earth minerals outside China, and its flagship Mt Weld mine is located around 30 kilometres south of Laverton.

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