September 6, 2019 / 1:36 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Lynas eyes Kalgoorlie for initial processing site

(Adds background on processing site decision)

Sept 6 (Reuters) - Australian rare earths producer Lynas Corp said on Friday it signed an agreement with the outback town of Kalgoorlie to explore a potential initial ore processing site as it tries to soothe concerns in Malaysia about radioactive waste.

Lynas, the largest rare earths producer outside China, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the mining town, where the city will help attract workers for the potential processing site.

The miner has been on the lookout for a plant that will remove low-level radioactivity from the materials it ships to Malaysia for separation into elements vital for products ranging from fighter jets to wind farms.

The need for a decision was accelerated after the Malaysian government gave Lynas four years to build the cracking and leaching plant as a condition for the licence renewal of its Malaysian processing plant.

The plant will form part of a $500 million growth strategy to boost production by 2025. The decision to explore Kalgoorlie, comes over its other shortlised option, Mt Weld, the site of its mine.

“Access to infrastructure and a skilled workforce makes it an attractive investment destination,” said Lynas CEO & Managing Director, Amanda Lacaze.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin

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