Lynas Rare Earths to boost HRE output with new $25m Malaysian circuit

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By Colin Hay - 
Lynas Rare Earths ASX LYC HRE Malaysia Kuantan dysprosium terbium

Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) has unveiled a new opportunity to develop two new high-value rare earth elements at its specialist facility in Malaysia.

Utilising a new process, Lynas Malaysia will separate heavy rare earth (HRE) elements dysprosium and terbium to complement the company’s current product range.

Dysprosium, terbium and other HRE element oxides from Lynas’ Mt Weld ore body in Western Australia are currently sold as a mixed HRE compound known as SEGH.

Circuit upgrade

The company plans to reconfigure one of its solvent extraction circuits in Malaysia to facilitate the production of dysprosium and terbium.

The new $25 million circuit is designed with the capacity to separate up to 1,500 tonnes of SEGH per year.

Front-end engineering design has been completed and detailed engineering design is underway, with commissioning and ramp-up expected in mid-2025.

As a result of the separation of dysprosium and terbium from the SEGH compound, Lynas’ HRE range will increase to five products.

High-value HRE

Dysprosium and terbium are essential to high-value, high-performance rare earth permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and high-tech applications such as micro-capacitors, which are essential to all electronic devices.

Both are considered critical in the HRE metals group as they face low supply and increasing importance in the development of clean energy technologies.

Dysprosium is used in tandem with neodymium in magnets that are vital to modern technology and renewable energy, while dysprosium oxide is used in nuclear reactors to help cool fuel rods and keep reactions under control.

Terbium compounds are used as green phosphors in fluorescent lamps, computer monitors and TV screens that use cathode-ray tubes and terbium oxide is a significant component in the thermochemical hydrogen generation process.

Taking full advantage

Lynas chief executive officer and managing director Amanda Lacaze said the company is taking advantage of the world-class Mt Weld ore body.

“Lynas’ Mt Weld deposit is remarkable for its endowment of heavy rare earth minerals as well as light rare earth minerals,” she said.

“This circuit reconfiguration at Lynas Malaysia provides a pathway to accelerate our commitment to processing all of the elements in the Mt Weld ore body.”

“The initial separation of HRE at our Malaysian facility is an exciting development for our company and the first step towards offering an expanded suite of HRE products.”

Global customer base

The Lynas Malaysia advanced materials plant is located on a 100-hectare site in a purpose-built petrochemical industry zone near Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia.

It has been operating since 2012 and supplies separated rare earth materials to customers in East Asia, the United States and Europe.