May 20, 2019 / 11:31 PM / 2 months ago

Australia's Lynas to spend $345 million on production boost, processing plant

(Reuters) - Rare earths producer Lynas Corp said on Tuesday it plans to spend A$500 million ($345.50 million) by 2025 to boost production and set up an initial processing facility in Western Australia.

The plan also includes investing in its processing facility in Malaysia, where Lynas is facing problems in getting license renewals for its plant due to concerns over waste storage.

The world’s only major producer of rare earths outside China has been considering initial ore processing near its Australian mine. Malaysia’s Prime Minister said in April that companies would need to clean raw materials in order to operate.

Broker CLSA has pegged the cost of building a cracking and leaching plant at about A$100 million over three years.

Lynas said it expected demand for rare earths, used in everything from consumer electronics to military equipment, is expected to outstrip new supply.

The company, which is also trying to fend off a $1.1 billion takeover offer from Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd, plans to increase volume to 10,500 tonnes per annum of neodymium-praseodymium products to boost revenue.

On Monday, Lynas also said it would develop of a separation facility in the United States with Texas-based Blue Line Corp.

Last month, it reported record quarterly NdPr Production of 1,591 tonnes.

Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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