Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) announced today it has begun producing rare earths from its processing plant in Malaysia. The plant has been delayed for over a year due to public opposition centering around health and pollution concerns.
Opponents tried to derail the project through legal wrangling, but a Malaysian court earlier this month gave the go-ahead to fire up the $800-million plant in the eastern state of Panang. This despite very public protests, including opponents marching 186 miles from Kuantan, where the plant is located, to Kuala Lumpur, the capital.
Lynas, however, insists that the plant is safe for the environment and local communities and will provide jobs.
The company initially received a green light from the Malaysian government to build the plant near Kuantan in 2007. It was granted a Temporary Operating Licence in September.
The refinery is now the second outside of China to produce rare earths, the first being Molycorp (NYSE:MCP) in the United States, which earlier this year restarted its Mountain Pass facility in California. Feedstock for the plant will be sourced from Lynas’ Mount Weld mine in Australia.
Lynas stock closed down 5.19 percent in Australia on Friday.
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