KUALA LUMPUR – May 21, 2019: Lynas Malaysia has clarified that its rare earth processing plant in Gebeng near Kuantan will not be relocated to the United States as implied in a report yesterday.
Lynas vice-president of people and culture Mimi Afzan Afza told The Mole today that the joint venture between Lynas and Blue Line Corporation to develop rare earths separation capacity in the US is separate from its operations in Gebeng.
“In our press release yesterday, there was no mention of relocation and in fact, Lynas even has plans to increase investment in Malaysia, so our employees do not need to worry,” said Mimi.
It was reported that Lynas plans on spending about RM1.45 billion by 2025 to boost production and establish an initial processing facility in Western Australia, among others.
Its rare earth processing facility in Malaysia is also slated for investment to facilitate an increase in processing capacity.
“Also, our CEO (chief executive officer) and managing director of Lynas Corporation Amanda Lacaze has said that this joint venture was because the United States needed rare earth separation facilities and it is not a relocation or a replacement of any existing facility,” she added.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed between Lynas and Blue Line Corporation will see a new processing facility being built in Texas, of which will be majority-owned by Lynas.
The move comes as the US, which is highly reliant on China as the world’s biggest rare earths producer, is prioritising the sourcing of its strategic minerals used in everything from consumer electronics to military equipment.
The joint venture would be the only large-scale producer of separated medium and heavy rare earths products in the world, outside of China.
Key uses of rare earths materials include permanent magnets, catalytic convertors, catalysts, batteries, electronics, polishing powders, and water treatment chemicals.