Lynas production soars above COVID-19, price challenges

Lynas Rare Earths has announced a $500 million project to expand capacity at the Mt Weld mine and concentration plant in Western Australia.

Lynas Corporation has delivered a significant jump in its production of neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) and rare earth oxides (REO) amid volatile prices during the September quarter.

The company produced almost twice the amount of NdPr with 1342 tonnes compared with the 775 tonnes produced in the previous period.

Its REO output also shot from 2579 tonnes in the June quarter to 4110 tonnes.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze acknowledged that the company had a good start to the 2021 financial year.

“Following the temporary shutdowns in both Malaysia and Mt Weld as a result of the COVID-19 movement control order issued by the Malaysian Government, production of NdPr was at 75 per cent of Lynas NEXT production rates during the quarter (equivalent to original nameplate production rates),” she said in Lynas quarterly report.

“This is currently sufficient to meet demand from our customers while COVID-19 uncertainty remains.”

The chief executive remains upbeat in her rare earths outlook, citing the United States President’s executive order to build critical minerals supply chains for the country’s economy.

“The European Union also identified the need for a diversified and sustainable supply chain, launching a new strategy to secure access to rare earths and other critical minerals,” she said.

“In addition, the Australian Government’s modern manufacturing strategy prioritises critical minerals processing as one of its six national priorities,” she continued.

Lynas, however, noted that a full assessment of global rare earth demand would not be possible until the COVID-19 situation stabilised.

The new wave of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia had not significantly affected the state of Pahang where the company operated.

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