AAP Finance

Lynas picks Kalgoorlie for new plant

By AAP Newswire

Rare earth miner Lynas Corp says it will build its new $500 million cracking and leaching plant in the historic goldmining town of Kalgoorlie.

Kalgoorlie was selected from two shortlisted locations in the Goldfields regions, the company said.

The plant will perform the first step of processing rare earth material from Lynas' Mt Weld mine about 300km northeast near Laverton, that had been shipped to Malaysia.

Lynas expects work to begin in earnest on the plant in 2021, creating 500 construction jobs in the city of 30,000.

When the plant is complete in late 2022 or 2023 it will support the employment of 200 people in the region, chief executive Amanda Lacaze told AAP.

"This is a terrific opportunity to create new jobs in what is really a very liveable little city," she said.

"We are so proud to be investing in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region."

Lynas will also explore opportunities for performing upstream solvent extraction in Western Australia.

"There's a little bit we need to do to solve a number of challenges to be able to do that," Ms Lacaze said.

Lynas agreed to relocate its cracking and leaching operations to Western Australia by 2025 to renew its operating licence of its plant in Malaysia, where the low-level radioactive waste produced by the cracking and leaching process has been controversial.

Ms Lacaze said Lynas was "well-committed" to its Malaysian operations and workers and has no plans to retreat from the country.

"This is not a signal to any lack of commitment to Malaysia," Ms Lacaze said, noting Lynas's plant near Kuantan represents a $1 billion investment.

Lynas shares closed up 2.4 per cent to $2.10.