05 Feb '12, 4am

Malaysia plant threatens China grip on rare earths

Malaysia plant threatens China grip on rare earths

GEBENG, Malaysia: China's chokehold on the rare earths vital for everything from iPods to missiles is widely expected to end soon, thanks in large part to a contentious new plant in Malaysia. Australian miner Lynas won a license Wednesday to begin processing rare earths imported from Australia at the plant -- which is nearly completed -- despite fierce resistance over environmental and radiation concerns. Analysts said the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in eastern Pahang state will be at the vanguard of a world output surge that will break a Chinese stranglehold that has crimped supply and sent prices soaring in recent years. The plant will be able to process an initial 11,000 tonnes of rare earths per year -- about a third of current world demand excluding China -- once output begins in the middle of the year, and eventually 22,000 tonnes annually, Lynas says. That...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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