Government wants to ban parts of the country’s rare earths beneficiation process, newspaper says.
Many countries want to venture less dependence on China, and this also applies to the supply of raw materials, especially rare earths. The Australian mining company Lynas has a key role to play in these efforts, because in addition to mining these critical raw materials, the company also controls their processing. This takes place in Malaysia, but according to the wishes of the new government, this could soon change. As reported by The Straits Times, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim does not want to grant permission for part of the reprocessing process. This involves fission and leaching processes that produce slightly radioactive residues, because rare earths are usually associated with elements such as uranium or thorium in their deposits.
Only the refining of intermediates in Malaysia would be permitted as of July 1 of this year, the newspaper added. Lynas would then have to carry out the said process in its own country. Although the company is currently building a corresponding plant in western Australia, whether it will be ready for operation by July is currently still open.
Lynas, meanwhile, said Monday (PDF) that it has not yet received a decision from the Malaysian regulator on the matter.
Lynas has had to deal with problems in Malaysia on several occasions in recent years. Due to the pandemic, production was initially disrupted, then there was a lack of ships to transport the material. In addition, there were interruptions in the water supply, which cost time and money.