Lynas Corporation: Duncan Deposit Update

une 13, 2012 (Source: ASX) — Highlights:

Scoping study advances Duncan Deposit process evaluation into pilot scale

New customized process to be developed for feed material that is richer in Heavy Rare Earths

Definitive feasibility study to include preliminary site selection for processing of ‘new’ ore and funding analysis

Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC, OTC:LYSDY) provides the following update in relation to the area of the Mount Weld Mineral Resource known as the Duncan Deposit. As detailed in the Lynas ASX announcement dated 18 January 2012, the Duncan deposit has a distribution biased more towards high value heavy Rare Earths, and it is located immediately to the east and south of the Central Lanthanide Deposit (“CLD”) at Mount Weld.  The Duncan Deposit is a shallow deposit that could be exploited using open cut mining methods.

Lynas has now completed a scoping study in respect of the Duncan Deposit.

The next steps will include more detailed evaluation of potential locations for processing, and other work that will allow a detailed feasibility study to be prepared.

Lynas considered various alternative processing methods as part of the scoping study.  Rare Earth ores from different deposits may require different forms of processing. The detailed feasibility study will focus on direct chemical beneficiation with demonstration at pilot scale.  Preliminary bench top test-work conducted for the scoping study achieved a recovery of approximately 84% for non-cerium rare earths to mixed rare earth chloride by direct chemical treatment of the ore.

The detailed feasibility study will relate to a project with the following estimated parameters.  The following are preliminary figures that are subject to change, and they assume no cerium recovery:

Capital cost estimate for the proposed Duncan processing plant: approximately $600 million.

Cash cost of production: approximately $40 per kilogram of REO. (This cost is significantly higher than the equivalent cost for the CLD because the proposed Duncan process involves direct chemical beneficiation.)

Production: approximately 13,000 tonnes per annum of REO, excluding cerium.

Modelled throughput: approximately 500,000 tonnes per annum.

Weighted average basket sales price of production: approximately US$75 per kilogram of REO, assuming today’s domestic China prices, including VAT, but excluding cerium sales.  This estimated price is based on the prices published by Asian Metal online at www.asianmetal.com.

It is estimated that the Duncan Deposit will be approximately a 4 year development project.

Table 1 below shows the classification of Mineral Resource for the Duncan Deposit.

The estimated annual production from the Duncan Deposit based on the scoping study is shown in Table 3 (subject to change).  

The scoping study and the definitive feasibility study will be funded from existing working capital.