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Australia's Lynas picks Kalgoorlie for rare earth processing site
[BENGALURU] Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp said on Monday it had picked outback town Kalgoorlie as the site for a new initial ore processing plant to extract low-level radioactivity from materials to be shipped to Malaysia for final treatment.
In a statement, the world's only major producer of rare earth metals outside China said it the new planned cracking and leaching plant in Western Australia forms part of a US$500 million growth strategy to boost production by 2025.
After lengthy tensions with Kuala Lumpur over environmental concerns about its operations in Malaysia, Lynas was given four years by the country to build a plant to remove low-level radioactivity from material it ships to the Southeast Asian nation for processing into elements vital for products ranging from fighter jets to wind farms.
Kalgoorlie is about a four-hour drive from Lynas' MtWeld mine, where it currently trucks rare earth concentrate to the coast for shipment to a processing facility in Malaysia. The site was selected ahead of two other shortlisted areas, also in the Goldfields region.
"We also acknowledge the support from the Western Australian Government and the Australian Government to enhance the critical minerals industry in the Kalgoorlie region," Lynas Chief Executive Officer Amanda Lacaze said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Lynas also said it was looking at options for upstream solvent extraction in Western Australia.