Molycorp announced its Project Phoenix rare earth manufacturing complex in California is operational and has begun accelerating to its full-scale Phase 1 rate. By mid-year, company officials expect a 19,050 metric tons per year (mt/y) rate in rare earth oxide equivalent.

The second phase at the Mountain Pass complex can accommodate up to 40,000 mt/y of rare earth equivalent. However, said company officials, while second phase equipment will be available, further production will be contingent on market demand, capital and financial returns.

Molycorp said that capital and operating costs remain a top priority. Given the new schedule and current rare earth pricing environment, company officials anticipate lower-than-expected revenue for 2013, and are evaluating the year’s financial needs.