Australia’s Lynas to build rare earths plant in US

Australia-Malaysia rare earths producer Lynas Rare Earths has entered into an agreement with the United States government to build a commercial light, rare earths separation plant in the US.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary Lynas USA will collaborate with the US Department of Defense in an initiative sponsored by the Title III, Defence Production Act programme to build the plant, which is expected to be located in the state of Texas, Lynas said.

Detailed costs are being finalised with US Department of Defense funding expected to be capped at $30mn and Lynas expected to contribute a similar amount under the agreement.

The plant is expected to produce around 5,000 t/yr of rare earths products, including around 1,250 t/yr of permanent magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium. It will receive material directly from the new cracking and leaching facility that Lynas is developing at Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (WA).

Output from the plant will serve both the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) and the growing commercial market for rare earths products, including electric vehicles and green technologies in the US as well as global markets, Lynas added.

Lynas is the only non-Chinese commercial producer of separated rare earths products to the global marketplace. “While demand for rare earth materials continues to grow, Covid-19 has exposed the risks within the global supply chains of the single sourcing of critical materials,” chief executive Amanda Lacaze said.

Lynas, the world’s second largest rare earths producer, has a mining operation at Mt Weld in WA and a processing facility at Kuantan in Malaysia.

Source: Argus Media

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