Lynas to fire up rare earth output

LYNAS Corp Ltd expects the production of rare earth concentrates at its advanced materials plant in Malaysia to reach 11,000 tonnes by the first quarter of next year.

Lynas executive chairman Nicholas Curtis said the production will kick off upon full completion of the first phase of construction, which is expected to be by the end of this year.

He said the second phase, which will be fully completed by the second quarter of next year, will see a substantial production, accounting for 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the full capacity.

"We anticipate by the end of next year, we will be running at full capacity, producing 22,000 tonnes per year," he said yesterday.

He said even with that scale of production, it is still not enough to meet the global demand.

"When we look at the use of rare earth in basic consumer applications as well as in other use; we do see net deficit in the next two to three years in the rare earth market, with the inclusion of our facility and other newcomers in the market," he said. It was reported that by 2016, the world demand for rare earth elements is expected to hit 160,000 tonnes, with China dominating the industry.

On whether the firm will need additional investment moving forward, Curtis said its access to debt market is solid and the company has no bank debt, therefore providing a solid access to funding from banks.

Even if the construction was delayed, he said the additional investment was not significant. "We have spent the money that is required. Those who have visited the plant will see that it is a very major facility and the expenditure that we have made is in line with the returns that we are going to make," he said.

The company had spent US$370 million (RM1.15 billion) for the first phase and US$250 million for the second phase, he said.

The rare earth refinery, which is expected to commence as early as next month, is located at Gebeng Industrial Estate in Pahang. Bernama

Construction vehicles are parked at the site of the Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang. By 2016, world demand for rare earth elements is expected to hit 160,000 tonnes. 

Resource: New Straits Times, Page: 16
Date: Thursday, 6 September 2012

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