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Lynas applies to process more rare-earth material in Kuantan

The date of: 2019-10-23
viewed: 2


The government has yet to approve an application from Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd to raise the lanthanide concentrate processing limit for 2019.

In its quarterly report dated Sept 30, Lynas said its Gebeng rare earth plant in Kuantan was operating at reduced rates.

'We continue to work with the Malaysian regulator to gain approval for the production uplift based on the new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) related to these matters which we completed earlier in the year,' said Lynas.

Lynas said its production during the second half year of 2019 is being managed at reduced rates, unlike what happened in 2018 where it was forced to shut down the plant in December 2018 after the government declined to raise the processing cap.

'This is a different strategy from 2018. In 2018, we maintained maximum rates and then entered a complete plant shutdown in December 2018,' said Lynas. 

Lynas said its Gebang plant will produce the same quantity of neodymium and praseodymium, key ingredients in permanent magnets, as in 2018.

'Our capacity to meet our customers’ demand for lanthanum remains very tight, which allows us to maximize the value for our product,' said Lynas.

The report, however, did not state the extra amount of rare-earth raw material it had applied to be imported from Australia.

The government on Aug 15 announced an extension to Lynas' licence, but set a condition for the company to come up with a construction and financing plan for a permanent deposit facility to store its radioactive waste.

The Atomic Energy Licensing Board also required Lynas to shift its 'cracking and leaching' phase of operations, which produces the radioactive waste, to overseas within four years.

Meanwhile, Lynas Corporation expressed its frustration over Putrajaya's reluctance to raise the processing limit for lanthanide concentrate. 

The group managing director Amanda Lacaze (above) ruled out the possibility of the company seeking compensation from the government via legal recourse.

She was quoted by Australian Financial Review as saying the company had no appetite for “additional conflict with the government”.

Lynas was subject to frustrating “political nonsense,” despite doing everything expected of it as a foreign investor and reaching higher standards than those in other industries, she said.

“Suing anybody is always a risky pathway and suing a government is an even riskier pathway, and we won’t be doing that anytime soon, particularly as we are working to build something that is good for us and good for Malaysia,” she said.

Describing Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a steadfast supporter of Lynas, she said, the Malaysian premier wanted manufacturing industries to develop around rare earths processing.

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