Lynas Gets Licence to Operate REE Plant

A long-fought campaign to obtain an operating licence for its rare earths processing plant in Malaysia has paid off for Lynas Corporation.

Australia-based Lynas (ASX:LYC, OTC:LYSDY) said today that the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) granted the company a Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) for its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

The plant will be the second to operate outside China after Molycorp re-started its rare earths mine and processing plant earlier this year in California.

“Like everyone at Lynas, I am eagerly anticipating the safe commencement of operations at the LAMP and being able to supply our customers with product,” Lynas executive chairman Nicholas Curtis said in a statement. “Receiving this licence from the AELB is a significant milestone for Lynas,” he added.

The decision ends about nine months of legal wrangling over the $230 million refinery that will process rare earths shipped from Lynas’ Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Critics of the project claimed it would jeopardize the health and wellbeing of local residents.

But Curtis addressed such concerns in today’s press release, saying that the AELB will monitor the plant’s operations to ensure adherence to prescribed safety standards. For its part, Curtis said Lynas would “exceed the rigorous standards incorporated into the Temporary Operating Licence by removing from Malaysia the material that is the principal cause of the community anxiety by engaging with export markets for the processed co-products from the LAMP. This will be achieved in accordance with all Malaysian regulations and international conventions.”

The temporary permit allows Lynas to begin operations as early as October, and may be extended to a full operating licence in the next two years.

Lynas was down 5 cents Wednesday on the Australian stock exchange, closing at 59.5 cents per share.