Lynas

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Lynas Corporation Ltd
Type Public ASXLYC
Industry Mining
Predecessor(s) Yilgangi Gold NL
Founded 1983
Founder(s) Nicholas Curtis
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Area served Australia, Malaysia
Products rare earth metals
Website www.lynascorp.com

Lynas Corporation, Ltd. is an Australian rare earths mining company, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange as a S&P/ASX 200 company.[1] It has two major operations: a mining and concentration plant at Mount Weld, Western Australia, and a refining facility at Kuantan, Malaysia.[2]

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1983 as Yilgangi Gold NL The company took on the Lynas name in 1985.[3] It became publicly listed in 1986 on the ASX. In 2001, it sold off its gold division and focused on rare earths.[3]

Lynas was founded by Nicholas Curtis, a former executive director at Macquarie Group Ltd.[4]

Mount Weld[edit]

Mt Weld contains one of the largest and highest grade known deposits of rare earths. The deposit is additionally unusual because it contains very low levels of thorium, a radioactive contaminant commonly found together with rare earth elements. The combination of large resource, high grades and low thorium contamination make it a particularly attractive commercial proposition. The ore produced at Mount Weld is concentrated onsite and is intended to then be shipped to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia for refining.

In May 2009 Lynas was offered funding of $252 million by the Chinese state-owned China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co., which would have taken a 51.6% stake in the company. However the deal was scrapped by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board on concern it would threaten supply to non-Chinese buyers. Lynas later raised $450 million in a share sale.[5]

In November 2010, it signed an agreement with the Japanese rare earths trading company Sojitz to export $350 million worth of rare earth minerals from its mine in Mount Weld.[6]

First shipments of concentrate to Malaysia have reached the LAMP late November 2012.

Crown deposit[edit]

In April 2011, Lynas was attempting to sell its Crown polymetallic deposit (which is particularly prospective for niobium) at Mount Weld to Forge Resources. Forge, a company listed on the ASX, also shares the one and only common Director and CEO of Lynas, Nicholas Curtis, although former Lynas executive director Harry Wang is also involved with Forge and the transaction. In a 2007 Company presentation, Lynas claimed that the Crown deposit was worth $50 billion ([7]) but have valued it at $20.7 million for sale to Forge. Curtis as a director of Forge would receive a 24,000,000 performance shares if the deal between Lynas and Forge proceeds. Certain commentators and journalists have called into question the regulatory oversight of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) as to the legality of such a proposal, but were proven to have been uninformed or alarmist because the proposal was always subject to the approval of independent shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).[8] The EGM was cancelled by Lynas after shareholder opposition to the proposal became apparent, and the Crown polymetallic deposit remains owned by Lynas.

Lynas Advanced Materials Plant and Controversy[edit]

The Lynas Advance Materials Plant (LAMP) has been built near Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. This location was chosen due to the site having all the resources required to run the plant at a lower cost than originally approved in Western Australia. In addition, the Malaysian government granted the company "pioneer" status and offered it a 12-year tax exemption. The LAMP commenced operations in 2012. despite attracting strong local opposition, and the whole opposition movement significantly expanding to become a national phenomenon.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has been raising her concerns over the risks of having a rare earth processing plant near Kuantan in the Parliament of Malaysia since 18 November 2008.[9] A civil society group “Concerned Citizens of Kuantan” was formed in December 2008, after a meeting held by Fuziah to meet with about twenty residents and professionals from different ethnic groups and NGOs in Kuantan to discuss the LAMP issues.[10]

In early March 2011, the article published in the New York Times has raised the public awareness concerning the LAMP.[11][12][13] At the same time, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has ramped up fear in the Malaysian people about the risks of radioactive exposure. Since then, the Kuantan community group protesting against the LAMP led by Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh had gradually evolved into a bigger group, i.e. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL).

SMSL was loosely formed by Fuziah and her team in March 2011, after a signature drive launch and public talk on the urgent need to cease the LAMP from commencing operations The group is currently led by Bentong parliamentary candidate Wong Tack.[14] Along the protest against the LAMP, various anti-Lynas groups and NGOs have been mushrooming in Kuantan and in Malaysia.

Since March 2011, the residents of Kuantan have been protesting against LYNAS setting up the world's biggest rare earths refinery plant in Kuantan.[15]

An Australian Greens MP, Robin Chapple, has shot down Lynas Corp’s attempt to ship radioactive waste from Malaysia back to Western Australia state saying that the Western Australia Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 forbids the import of radioactive waste.[16]

On Sept 5, 2012, it was reported that Lynas (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd was awarded the temporary operating licence by Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licensing Board for a period of two years. The Lamp plant has been fraught with difficulty and it has generated strong opposition from Malaysians, unwilling to be the recipients of Australia's wastes. The local residents have consistently protested the plant in various gatherings of up to 20,000 people and has been linked with further protests of the Malaysian opposition party. Despite concerns about the plant and its alleged lack of a proper long term disposal plan for its radioactive wastes, a two-year temporary licence has been issued. [17]

On Dec 19, 2012, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas group had appealed against an earlier decision to grant Lynas a temporary operating licence, the Malaysian Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with costs in favour of Lynas. [18]

The refining facility entered production in 2013, producing 1,089 tonnes of rare earth oxides in the first quarter of 2014, with a target of 11,000 tonnes per annum.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "S&P/ASX 200 Constituent List". Standard and Poors. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  2. ^ Bradsher, Keith (8 March 2011). "Taking a Risk for Rare Earths". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Lynas Corporation Limited (LYC):Company Overview", InvestSmart.com, 2011-06-30.
  4. ^ Lee, Yoolim (31 May 2011). "Malaysia Rare Earths in Largest Would-Be Refinery Incite Protest". Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Australia blocked China investment on supply concerns". Sydney Morning Herald. 2011-02-15. 
  6. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (24 November 2010). "Japanese Firm in Rare Earths Deal With Australian Miner". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.businessday.com.au/business/lynas-shareholders-threaten-lawsuit-20110418-1dlo4.html
  8. ^ West, Michael (16 April 2011). "Not just another crackdown". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  9. ^ eks Ucapan Perbahasan Peringkat Jawatankuasa Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar
  10. ^ http://fuziahsalleh.my/?page_id=619
  11. ^ Taking a Risk for Rare Earths
  12. ^ Mitsubishi Quietly Cleans Up Its Former Refinery
  13. ^ A Refinery Rises in Malaysia
  14. ^ http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/kuantan-city-folk-to-lead-anti-lynas-plant-movement/
  15. ^ http://savemalaysia-stoplynas.blogspot.com/
  16. ^ http://my.news.yahoo.com/australian-mp-lynas-prohibited-importing-022124021.html
  17. ^ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=nation&file=/2012/9/5/nation/20120905162349
  18. ^ "Lynas wins latest court case". AAP. 19 December 2012. 
  19. ^ Elizabeth Redman (2014-04-01). "Lynas soars on record production". Business Spectator. 

External links[edit]