Lynas CEO cautiously optimistic of market recovery

Lynas Rare Earths

The Kalgoorlie project. Image: Lynas Rare Earths

Lynas Rare Earths has enjoyed record-high rare earths prices during the March quarter as the market recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) prices jumped by 40 per cent during the quarter (compared with 31 per cent in the prior period) despite a correction at the end of March.

This led to record prices at Lynas, which reached an average selling price of $35.5 per kilogram for its full product range.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze said the prices were supported by a strong demand for NdPr, while that of terbium stabilised.

With a production rate of 75 per cent, Lynas produced 30 per cent more rare earths during the March quarter compared with the previous period, totalling 4463 tonnes.

“At this stage we have elected to remain at 75 (per cent) of Lynas Next rates as it allows us to maintain our strict COVID-related health and safety protocols and manage variability in the external environment, particularly related to inbound and outbound logistics,” Lacaze said.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, especially in Europe, we continue to hold a cautiously optimistic view of the market.”

Lynas Next is the company’s growth project and forms part of its long-term plans.

The company has also continued with its improvement projects at the Mt Weld mine in Western Australia.

Lynas aims to create a more stable circuit operation with less operator intervention and variation in flotation performance.

Lacaze said the project included a week-long trial on a parcel of apatite (AP) ore that had been mined and stockpiled during mining campaign three.

“These trials will inform future flowsheet development at Mt Weld enabling us to process AP ore in the future,” she said.

Apatite is mainly used in the manufacture of fertiliser.

Meanwhile at Lynas’ Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility in Western Australia, orders for process equipment were continuing and equipment fabrication was under way.

Lynas has received approval to begin early construction works and completed additional studies following the request of Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority.

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