Australian news, and some related international items

Lynas plans rare earths “upstream” processing in Australia and “downstream” processing in USA and Malaysia

Lynas expansion plans Trump Wesfarmers’ bid  SMH, By Colin Kruger, May 21, 2019   Wesfarmers’ attempt to buy Lynas Corp on the cheap appears to be dead after a combination of US President Donald Trump’s trade wars and the announcement of expansion plans by the rare earths group sent its share price soaring above the Perth-based conglomermate’s indicative offer price on Tuesday.Lynas said it will spend $500 million by 2025 on value added processing in the US and Malaysia as well as setting up a processing plant in Western Australia, near its Mt Weld mine, to extract radioactive waste from its rare earths before it is shipped to Malaysia.

“Our plan is to invest in upstream processing close to our source (Mt Weld), with downstream processing close to our customers,” Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze said with reference to the Malaysian plant and expansion plans in the US announced on Monday.

Lynas offered little clarity on whether this will ensure its Malaysian operations will be able to continue operating when its current licence expires in September, but it did not matter.

News emerged early Tuesday of China’s President Xi Jinping visiting a rare earths factory in China on Monday, in what could signal his intent to use China’s dominance of this market as a weapon in the trade wars. Lynas is the only significant rare earths producer outside of China.

Lynas also indicated it can fund the expansion without raising money from investors.

It helped send its share price soaring 14 per cent higher to $2.26 before the company as embarrasingly forced into a trading halt. The ASX had queried the company about its reporting of resource and reserve numbers for its Mt Weld mine that were included in the company presentations.

Wesfarmers declined to comment…….

A move of the group’s cracking and leaching operations from Malaysia to WA will remove the guts of its current operation, but Lynas reaffirmed its future in Malaysia with investment in downstream value-added processing. ….

Malaysia still plays a prominent role in Lynas Corp’s future, says CEO Amanda Lacaze. She was referring to  a statement from Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad in March that indicated Lynas would be able to continue operating in Malaysia if the low level radioactive waste was removed before it reached the country.

The government has yet to provide any clarity on an earlier condition stating that Lynas had to remove 450,000 tonnes of this waste from the country before the current licence expires in September. ……

May 23, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths

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