Finally some good news to end the week. Lynas V.P. for sales and marketing told Reuters that they believe the public hearing on May 21 in Kuala Lumpur, will be the final step in the temporary operating licence review process, allowing Lynas to start operating their Malaysian Advanced Materials Plant in June. Finally Lynas will become second to market outside of China, behind Molycorp, and the beginning of the end of China’s rare earth elements monopoly will be in sight.
Lynas on track to start Malaysia plant in June
11th May 2012
SAN FRANCISCO – Lynas Corp Ltd said on Thursday it was on track to start up its rare earths plant in Malaysia next month after an official in the country called it “the safest rare earths plant in the world.”
The plant in Kuantan on the east coast of Malaysia, under construction since 2010, has been held up as Malaysian residents and local politicians expressed concerns about radioactive waste contaminating the environment.
Pol Le Roux, vice president for sales and marketing for Lynas, said he believed a public hearing set for May 21 in Kuala Lumpur would be the final step in the process.
Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board had approved a two-year operating license for Lynas in early February, but the company has been waiting to receive it.
“We have no knowledge of any other procedure, hence we feel comfortable – reasonably comfortable, because we have learned in the last six months that you have to be careful – that we should get it by June this year,” Le Roux said at the International Rare Earth Summit in San Francisco.
Of course, these two swallows, Molycorp and Lynas, don’t make for a REE summer, the world is still dependent on China for most of the supply of REEs, but the extra supply and competition, will make the search for substitutes less urgent, to the benefit of China as well as the rest of the world, and will keep REEs research into new commercial uses at the forefront of industry. Assuming Lynas does start operating LAMP next month, the question then becomes who will be third to market? I have my own guess but I open it up for suggestions.