Troubled Lynas plant restarts today

Rare earths producer Lynas Corporation has announced the restart from today of its Malaysian processing facility, following a general re-opening of the economy by the Malaysian government.

The plant, which was shut down as part of national efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19, will operate at 70 per cent capacity.

The company told investors: “We expect the production rate will enable us to refill supply chains and to restock depleted inventories of critical materials, while maintaining new health and hygiene protocols on site.

“Our number one priority will continue to be the health and safety of our people and our local communitiers.”

The company operates a mine and concentration plant at Mt Weld in Western Australia for Neodymium, Praseodymium, Lanthanum, Cerium and mixed Heavy Rare Earths, a technical office in Perth, and its advanced materials plant at Kuantan, Malaysia.

This plant was plagued by controversy even before the virus hit. Concerns that toxic and radioactive residues threatened Malaysia lead to demonstrations in the streets by groups with names such as Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas and challenges in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

The company’s operating licence was under threat until February when it was renewed for three years on condition that the company develop a permanent disposal facility (PDF) and commission a cracking and leaching plant outside Malaysia before July 2023.

Lynas is proceeding with plans to build a new cracking and leaching facility at Kalgoorlie in WA.

Picture: Lynas Malaysia

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