Lynas looks ahead following COVID-19 impacts

Lynas’ existing rare earths cracking and leaching plant in Malaysia.

Lynas Corporation has not escaped the COVID-19 pandemic unscathed as rare earths prices took a dip and operations moved into temporary suspension.

The company finished the 2020 financial year with a revenue of $305.1 million, a $58.4 million drop from 2019, reflecting temporary production halts and weak market conditions.

This result was heavily influenced by a six-week shutdown of Lynas’ Malaysian plant in accordance with the Malaysian government’s COVID-19 movement control order.

Although being financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynas is looking ahead to the future, with its Malaysian operating licence being renewed for three years and progressing its Lynas 2025 growth plan.

Lynas Malaysia is now licensed to operate until March 2023 and the company’s Australian operations established a project team to complete the Kalgoorlie rare earth processing facility.

The Kalgoorlie project team has completed front end engineering and released the tender for its longest lead item.

Lynas chief executive and managing director Amanda Lacaze said the company entered the pandemic in “robust financial shape” but its financial performance had been impacted by the shutdown, lower market prices for rare earths and a temporary halt during December last year after it reached its annual processing limit for the calendar year.

“While this was disappointing, we have built a resilient business and despite the lower market pricing, our performance in quarters not affected by the production halts remained strong,” Lacaze said.

“A highlight this year was the renewal of our Malaysian operating licence for three years to March 2023 with acceptable conditions.

“The licence renewal provides the foundation for the continued operation of Lynas Malaysia, as well as a resolution on the management of our two residue streams.”

As one of its steps to satisfying the Malaysian licence conditions, Lynas was approved for the proposed site for its permanent deposit facility during August, subject to relevant studies and final approvals.

Lynas produced 4656 tonnes of neodymium and praseodymium at Mt Weld in Western Australia during the 2020 financial year, contributing to a rare earths ore total of 14,562 for the company.

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