Lynas makes US rare earths breakthrough

Lynas' Mt Weld rare earth mine. Image: Lynas Corporation.

Lynas Corporation has overcome a political hurdle in the United States to secure a contract for a rare earth facility in Texas.

This is key to Lynas’ 2025 growth plan as the facility will be the only source of separated heavy rare earths outside China.

Lynas will design and operate the separation facility, which will process heavy rare earths material sourced from its Mt Weld mine in Western Australia.

The Malaysian-headquartered company hit a roadblock earlier this year as the United States Government reconsidered its decision to contract Lynas for the facility amid the options of sourcing a domestic supply or supply from the country’s allies.

Upon winning the contract, Lynas chief executive and managing director Amanda Lacaze said the company was very pleased to have signed the contract with the Department of Defense (DoD) for this phase one work.

“Heavy rare earths are essential for the high performance magnets used in electric motors, and Lynas has the feedstock, intellectual property and track record to deliver a heavy rare earths facility in a timely and low risk manner,” she said.

The DoD will fund the phase one project to allow Lynas and local rare earths processor Blue Line to complete a market and strategy study as well as design work for the facility’s construction.

Lynas expects to complete this work in the 2021 financial year.

Australia’s Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the contract was a great result for Lynas and the country’s critical minerals sector.

“Our current environment has shone a spotlight on concentrated global supply chains, particularly for critical minerals,” he said.

“This milestone brings us a step closer to a secure supply chain of rare earth materials, integral to defence and industrial bases for both our countries.”

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