The current slump in the global prices of rare earth metals (
) is a more than open indication the global market is now poised
for a renewed growth demand in the sector, Nicholas Curtis,
chairman of Lynas Corp., explained to shareholders at its annual
meeting on Wednesday.
While it is plain truth that global demand for the REM
weakened due to skyrocketing prices in the year's first half,
Curtis said this in fact is a healthy development for the
"Since August ... there has been a substantial (fall) in rare
earths prices and a consequent readjustment of equity market
valuations in line with a much more sober global economic
outlook," the Lynas Corp. executive said.
Prices of REM have increased fourfold this year as China, the
world's stronghold of global REM as it controls 95 percent of the
commodity, controlled production and imposed domestic export
quota citing environmental concerns brought by mining the rare
"We believe this price 'retracement' is healthy for the
industry. Prices are still very satisfactory, but (are now) much
more sustainable for our customers," Curtis said.
REM, comprised of 17 elements, are widely used
in manufacturing of batteries of hybrid vehicles, computers,
digital cameras, televisions, smartphones, in long-lasting light
bulbs and serving as critical magnets in guided missiles.
Lynas Corp.'s shares climbed 3 percent to A$1.215 at the close
of trading in Sydney on Wednesday.
Curtis also announced its LAMP advanced materials plant
in the Malaysian region of Kuantan is almost near completion.
"We are in the final stages of the regulatory approvals
process in Malaysia," Curtis said in a statement. "We have
submitted all the requested documentation and the Malaysian
Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) is now reviewing those
documents ahead of making a decision."
Pending Malaysian regulatory approvals, Curtis said its
Malaysian plant will be ready to receive concentrate in the first
quarter of 2012.
However, Datuk Dr Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, director-general
of Malaysia's AELB, clarified the pre-operational license that
Lynas Corp. sent four weeks ago will take some time as it is
being reviewed by an appointed panel. A decision will most likely
be issued seven months later.
The rigid review aims to ensure that the three REM to be
processed by the plant will not cause radiation to the public, he
The locals in Kuantan where the LAMP advanced materials plant
is based oppose the project due to fears of radiation
In June, Lynas Corp. announced the $200-million plant would be
operational by end 2011.
Malaysia's AELB said it will award Lynas Corp. the license to
operate once Lynas Corp. completes addressing all 10 areas of
improvement identified in an International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) report. The IAEA recommendations include well-laid out
plans for decommissioning and remediation of radioactive