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Lynas announces Mt Weld rare earths mine expansion

Published by
Global Mining Review,

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd has announced an approximately US$500 million project to expand capacity at the Mt Weld mine and concentration plant to meet accelerating market demand for rare earth materials.

Global demand for rare earth materials and NdFeB magnets continues to accelerate. NdFeB magnet demand forecast to grow from 130 000 t of NdFeB magnets consumed in 2020 to 265 000 t in 2030, driven by growth in electric vehicles and wind energy.

The Lynas 2025 growth plan (announced 21 May 2019) targeted a 50% increase in NdPr production to 10 500 tpy by 2025, including significant development of the Mt Weld ore body and beneficiation circuit. To meet Lynas’ ambition to grow with the market, this previously announced growth plan must be accelerated and increased.

Investment in capacity expansion will be required at every production stage. This starts with increasing feedstock availability and Lynas is today announcing project to substantially expand Mt Weld feedstock capacity, which builds on the previously announced Lynas 2025 growth plan for Mt Weld. The Mt Weld expansion will target feedstock production capacity of 12 000 tpy NdPr equivalent in 2024. Further capacity expansion in existing upstream and downstream production together with growth options for 2025 and beyond are being developed. This includes two additional stages at Mt Weld which offer a pathway to an additional 2400 tpy NdPr equivalent each.

The Mt Weld mine is a high grade long life resource. The significant potential for further development of the ore body was demonstrated by the 1 km deep exploration drill hole completed in 2021, which displayed continuous rare earth mineralisation (announced 1 March 2022).

The initial expansion to 12 000 tpy NdPr equivalent has been fully scoped and the approximately US$500 million investment for this stage of the project is fully funded from cash flow. This project is based on known technology. It includes upscaled processing equipment, efficiency improvements, enhanced sustainability, and will provide a platform for further capacity increases.

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