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First production imminent at Kalgoorlie

Lynas Kalgoorlie

Lynas Rare Earths is looking to leverage its processing expertise in Malaysia to support the start-up of its Kalgoorlie processing plant in WA.

With the company largely shutting down its Malaysia plant to complete refurbishments from mid-November, key cracking and leaching (C&L) personnel will be redeployed to apply the finishing touches on the Kalgoorlie facility.

The kiln heating cycle has commenced at Kalgoorlie, with first production to follow and operations to ramp up over the next few months. Lynas chief executive officer and managing director Amanda Lacaze said this was an “exciting milestone” for the company.

Lynas will upgrade its Malaysia plant so it can support 10,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) of neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) production.

“This is essential additional capacity in the event our Malaysian operating licence is updated to allow the continued import and processing of lanthanide concentrate from 1 January 2024,” Lacaze said.

“In the event that does not occur, the capacity will still be required as Kalgoorlie ramps up to its nameplate capacity of MREC (mixed rare earth carbonate) feedstock to produce approximately 9000tpa NdPr finished product.”

Lynas has filed two judicial reviews before the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur as it looks to have an impending ban (1 January 2024) for the import and processing of lanthanide concentrate lifted. The company earned a six-month extension of the ban in May.

Lower rare earths prices led to a 12.1 per cent decrease in quarter-on-quarter (qoq) sales revenue for Lynas ($128.1 million in the September quarter compared with $143.7 million in the June quarter).

The company produced 1526 tonnes of NdPr in the September quarter, with a 22 per cent qoq decline reflecting planned and delayed preventative maintenance works in the C&L plant in Malaysia.

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