Lynas Announces $500M Expansion at Mt Weld
“The rare earths market is growing at pace as the world transitions to new energy technologies such as wind energy and electric vehicles,” said Lynas CEO and Managing Director Amanda Lacaze. “Lynas has a decade-long track record in responsible rare earths production and the Mt Weld expansion project we are announcing today is designed to ensure we continue to grow with the market as a supplier of choice.”
The plan is to increase feedstock production capacity from 7,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) NdPr equivalent today to 12,000 mt/y NdPr equivalents in 2024. Further capacity expansion in existing upstream and downstream production together with growth options for 2025 and beyond are also being discussed. This includes two additional stages at Mt Weld that offer a pathway to an additional 2,400 mt NdPr equivalent per year for each stage.
The initial expansion to 12,000 mt/y NdPr equivalent has been fully scoped and the company said it will fund the approximately $500 million investment for this stage of the project 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. Key elements of the expansion project include improved crushing and grinding infrastructure, additional flotation circuits, and an apatite leach circuit.
The project will also require a concentrate dewatering circuit and load-out facilities. The mining operations will also need additional tailings storage facilities (TSFs), with segregated storage of process streams to enable potential future reprocessing. In addition to this initial expansion project, Lynas plans a staged transition from diesel-fueled power generation to gas and then hybrid renewable power generation.
Procurement of long lead equipment items has already started. Construction activities are expected to commence in early 2023, with full operation planned for 2024.