Lynas Malaysian rare earths plant to see delays

 Lynas has announced that delays in the construction of the Malaysian Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) means that it is unlikely first feed to kiln will occur until early next year.

Despite this delay, the miner says construction is progressing, and the plant was 78% complete at the end of the quarter.

It expects to be in commercial supply by the first half of 2012.

Following the review of the LAMP by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in June, the miner has submitted all the documents required for a pre-operational licence, after which it will be able to begin shipments of rare earths concentrate from its Mount Weld operations.

According to Lynas, its Mount Weld Concentration plant is performing ahead of expectations with Final Concentrate Grade, and recovery is ahead of targets in its current ramp up schedule.

While the miner has seen positive movements at its Australian operations, it has faced a massive public backlash in Malaysia and from Adele Carles.

In Malaysia, the announcement of the Government that the miner had not been granted a licence to import its ore saw its share price tumble.

The Government announcement spooked investors after it explicitly stated Lynas "had not been given any permission to import ores into the country".

"Lynas was neither issued [a] … licence nor does it qualify yet for a permit to import rare earth ores into Malaysia,” the Government said.

But Lynas said the statement was made in response to earlier incorrect claims the company would be shipping ore to Malaysia by the end of October.

It hit out at the claims, stating that they were ‘factually wrong’.

"These allegations are part of a campaign to deliberately distort the facts about Lynas," chairman Nicholas Curtin said.

"They create unnecessary fear in the local community for political purposes."

It has seen protests at the LAMP in Malaysia, where locals have raised fears over the plant emitting potentially dangerous levels of radiation.

However an investigation by the IAEA cleared the plant.

In Australia, MP for Fremantle, Adele Carles, has called for the cessation of rare earths transport through the Port of Fremantle due to potential radioactivity.

Carles has claimed that these rare earths could be a possible danger to public health and safety.

However, Lynas say that transportation was approved by the Department of Environment and the Department of Health, and the ore is no more radioactive than the surrounding region.

West Australian transport minister Troy Buswell also refuted Carles claims, stating that "from the Government point of view, Lynas Corporation’s rare earth commodity has all of the approvals in place. All of the advice we have … is that it is a relatively inert product.

"Our view is the relevant authorities have put in place the relevant approvals."

Carles also supported the protests of Malaysian green group Save Malaysia! Stop Lynas! (SMSL), which travelled to Australia to rally against the export plans.

Despite protests, the LAMP is still moving ahead, with Lynas announcing the signing of a new long term supply agreement with BASF corporation, providing the company with lanthanum. 

 

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