Lynas Corp. has selected Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, as the location for its new rare earths cracking and leaching plant (See E&MJ, October 2019, p. 4). Kalgoorlie was selected from the two short-listed locations in Western Australia’s Goldfields region following extensive due diligence. The city provides close proximity to Lynas’s rare earths mine at Mt Weld, as well as a skilled workforce and a rich history in the mining and processing industries.
Lynas produces rare earths concentrate at the Mt Weld mine and flotation concentrator 30 kilometers south of Laverton, Western Australia. The plant is designed to process 240,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of ore and produce up to 66,000 mt/y of concentrate containing 26,500 mt/y of rare earths oxides. The concentrator was commissioned in May 2011 and has been exporting concentrate to Lynas processing operations in Malaysia since late 2012.
Lynas signed an option to sublease an industrial-zoned property from the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The terms are being finalized. The signing of the option follows Lynas signing a memorandum of understanding with Kalgoorlie-Boulder announced in early September.
The Kalgoorlie cracking and leaching plant will upgrade Mt Weld concentrate that is currently exported to Malaysia. It is a further step toward delivering on the Australian federal government’s “Critical Minerals Strategy” and the government of Western Australia’s objective of developing more downstream processing within the state.
Lynas will also explore opportunities for the next stage of processing (upstream solvent extraction) in Western Australia.