Lynas faces new challenge to rare earth processing

Rare earths producer Lynas Corporation (ASX: LYC) faces new opposition to its continuing operations in Malaysia with the lodging of proceedings in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Lynas is building a processing plant in Western Australia to remove radioactive waste before shipment to Malaysia, a development forced onto the company by the Malaysian government.

The company has six months to remove the waste under a Malaysian government decision, with the decision-making process now facing a judicial review.

The legal challenge says the decision to renew the licence should have been made by the Science and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin, rather than cabinet.

The company’s Malaysian operations are highly controversial and have faced several legal challenges, all of which were dismissed by the courts.

Locals claim Malasia has become a dumping ground for other country’s waste.

The proposed Kalgoorlie plant would reshore cracking and leaching operations, and process rare earth materials from the company’s Mt Weld mine at Laverton.

According to the company, the site would require 500 jobs in construction and 200 once operations begin.

Lynas said it would also explore the possibilities of upstream solvent extraction processing in WA.

Lynas currently mines at Mt Weld for Neodymium, Praseodymium, Lanthanum, Cerium and mixed Heavy Rare Earths, and operates a advanced materials plant at Kuantan, Malaysia.

It is the only significant rare earths processor outside China.

This story has been edited to correct the mix of rare earths mined at Mt Weld

Picture: Lynas Corporation

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