Lynas Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Blue Line Corporation to develop rare earths separation capacity in the United States.
The deal represents Lynas’ first foray into the US market in several years. It will “close a critical supply chain gap for United States manufacturers”, according to Lynas chief executive officer and managing director Amanda Lacaze.
Lynas will form a joint venture with Blue Line to develop a rare earths separation facility at the US company’s manufacturing site in Hondo, Texas.
The JV will initially focus on separating heavy rare earth metals such as dysprosium and terbium, with the possibility of light rare earths separation of materials such as neodymium, praseodymium and lanthanum down the line.
“We are looking forward to working with Lynas to provide a secure source of rare earth materials to both US and international markets and using our technical expertise to produce raw materials for use in green and other high-tech industries,” said Blue Line president and CEO Jon Blumenthal.
Lynas, already the largest producer of light rare earth materials outside of China, looks set to continue its growth ambitions through the JV, which builds on an existing business relationship with Blue Line.
Once completed, the separation facility is expected to become the only large-scale producer of separated medium and heavy rare earth products outside of China.
Rare earth materials are prized for their use in products such as catalytic convertors, batteries, permanent magnets, various electronics, water treatment chemicals, and many more.
“Rare earths are essential inputs to high technology, high-growth industries in the digital age,” Lynas stated. “The Lynas/Blue Line joint venture will help ensure that US companies have continued access to rare earth products by providing a US-based source.”
Lynas made headlines in April when it rejected an unsolicited $1.5 billion takeover bid from Wesfarmers.