PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Rare earths miner Lynas is hoping to start construction of its Kalgoorlie cracking and leaching facility by mid-2021, subject to approvals.
“The team has completed the high level design and they are currently completing detailed engineering design and procurement,” Lynas CEO Amanda Lacaze told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.
She noted that approvals for the cracking and leaching facility would be regulated by state law, after Lynas received a decision under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act that the project was not considered a ‘controlled action’.
“Our project team has been able to work throughout the pandemic. I can tell you they are very excited with the project as they are able to design a new and improved facility using the learnings from Lynas Malaysia,” Lacaze said.
Lynas in January selected Kalgoorlie as the site for its new cracking and leaching plant in Australia as part of its 2025 growth plans. The new plant will upgrade the rare earth concentrate from the Mt Weld operation, which is currently exported to Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Lynas on Thursday also announced that exploration had identified potential primary rare earth mineralisation below the current Mt Weld rare earths pit.
Lacaze told shareholders that Lynas had extended two water bores into exploration opportunities, and had encountered "significant and continuous intersections of rare earth minerals".
“This mineralisation remains open at depth, and while the grade is lower than the weathered zone, the grain size is significantly coarser. While these are very early findings, we are committed to exploring below the current mineral resource to properly understand the potential for primary rare earth mineralisation below the weathered zone.”