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Lynas launches $500m WA mine expansion as clean energy demand drives growth

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Lynas, which mines its rare earths in Western Australia and ships the raw material to Malaysia for processing, had previously set a target to boost its output by 50 per cent to 10,500 tonnes a year by 2025. However, the speed of the global push to decarbonise has led the company to increase its output goals.

The US government has also signed a $120 million deal with Lynas for it to build a processing plant in Texas, with geopolitical tensions fuelling concerns that China’s control of more than 80 per cent of global rare earth supplies could harm energy security.

Lynas CEO Amanda Lacaze.Credit:Joe Armao

“Demand for magnetic materials is forecast to double by 2030, but this demand is within a market which is structurally ill-equipped to meet the increased demand,” Lacaze said at the Diggers and Dealers forum on Wednesday.

“In a nutshell, China has leveraged its resource and processing know-how to develop a dominant position in the supply of essential materials for green future-facing industries. And that is why you will be hearing from so many project proponents in this space.”

Meanwhile, fellow critical minerals miner Pilbara Minerals announced on Wednesday it had sold another shipment of its hard-rock lithium concentrate known as spodumene, with prices remaining high as clean energy needs drive demand for the essential battery mineral.

Pilbara said it had accepted a bid with an implied price of $US7012 ($10,114) a tonne for 5000 dry metric tonnes of its product in its eighth auction – $US5 shy of its record price per tonne achieved in June and up from its last auction in July.

Lithium prices have sharply increased as global electric vehicle sales rise, with automakers increasingly investing in supply chains to secure the scarce mineral, which is essential for electric batteries.

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