Lynas Corporation Ltd, a rare earth mining company based in Mount Weld, Australia, has selected the city of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, as the home for its new cracking and leaching plant for rare earth minerals processing, as reported in Australian Mining. The company states that this is the first step in transforming the historic mining town, reportedly known as the gold capital of Australia, into a critical minerals hub.
According to Lynas, Kalgoorlie was selected due to its close proximity to the company’s mine based in Mount Weld, and Kalgoorlie’s existing skilled workforce and history in the mining and processing industries. Mount Weld’s rare earth concentrate is currently exported to Malaysia for processing at the company’s plant in Kuantan, but the new cracking and leaching plant is believed to be a further step to advance the Australian government’s critical minerals strategy.
The company explains that the Western Australian rare earth industry is still expanding and in 2018/19, the state reportedly produced 29,000 tonnes of rare earth materials directly increasing employment by 3%. The cracking and leaching plant project is expected to create around 500 construction jobs and 200 ongoing jobs in the city once approval processes are finalised.
Additionally to diversifying Kalgoorlie’s production and employment options, Lynas states that it will be upskilling miners, chemists and engineers of the future working with tertiary students at the site. It will also help the Western Australian Government achieve its objective for more downstream processing and allow the company to explore opportunities for next stage upstream solvent extraction processing in the state.
“Kalgoorlie is a terrific city and an ideal location for our new cracking and leaching plant,” commented Amanda Lacaze, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Lynas Corporation. “Lynas was built from the ground up as an environmentally responsible rare earths producer and we will take the same approach for our facility in Kalgoorlie. The signing of this option is an important step for our project, and we look forward to updating the market on its progress.”
Mark McGowan, Western Australian Premier, stated, “I’m pleased Lynas will continue to work with Curtin University and the Western Australian School of Mines to enhance knowledge and technologies surrounding the processing of critical minerals in Australia. Kalgoorlie has a long and rich history in mining innovation, so there is no better place for Lynas Corporation to set up their processing operations.”