Molycorp reported in early October that the chloralkali plant at its Mountain Pass, California, rare earths operations was mechanically complete and that full-scale commissioning had begun. The company also confirmed that the final unit of the multistage cracking plant at Mountain Pass was mechanically complete and was being commissioned.

The chloralkali plant will recycle wastewater and produce hydrochloric acid and caustic soda used as part of the rare earth separations process. Once fully operational and optimized, the chloralkali plant is expected to help the Mountain Pass facility achieve its cash production cost targets, which the company believes will make it competitive with the lowest-cost producers globally.

The cracking plant at Mountain Pass is part of a multistage chemical process designed to increase the facility’s current rare earth recovery rates, increase production throughput, and contribute to lower unit production costs.

“These are the last major construction activities of Project Phoenix, the re-build of Mountain Pass, and we expect these units to be commissioned and to enter into production in the fourth quarter of 2013,” Molycorp President and CEO Constantine Karayannopoulos said. “Bringing these units online will help us focus on increasing production while continuing to reduce our production costs.”