Lynas Corporation has inked an agreement with the United States Government to build a light rare earths separation plant in Texas.
This follows Lynas’ agreement with the United States Department of Defense to deliver phase one work on a heavy rare earth separation facility in the United States.
Should that proceed to the next phase, the Texas facility will house both heavy and light rare earths processing facilities.
The plant will process material that is directly sourced from Lynas’ cracking and leaching plant under development in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
It is expected to produce around 5000 tonnes a year of rare earths products, including around 1250 tonnes a year of neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr).
Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze said as the only non-Chinese commercial producer of separated rare earths products to the global marketplace, Lynas was delighted by the opportunity to develop a light rare earth separation facility in the United States.
“While demand for rare earth materials continues to grow, COVID-19 has exposed the risks within global supply chains of the single sourcing of critical materials,” she said.
“This agreement is consistent with the US Government’s commitment to rebuild the domestic industrial base, while working effectively with partner nations.
“…This secure (domestic) supply will provide the essential foundation for the renewal of downstream specialty metal making and permanent magnet manufacturing in North America.”
Lynas expects the Department of Defense funding to be capped at around $US30 million ($39 million), in addition to Lynas’ expected contribution of $US30 million.
Rare earths are essential ingredients in the making of electric vehicles and electronics as well as in defence applications.