Lynas to produce dysprosium, terbium oxide in Malaysia

Australia's Lynas Rare Earths, the largest rare earth product producer outside China, is doubling down on plans to produce separated heavy rare earth products for high-performance magnets in Malaysia, alongside its existing project in the United States, it announced on Thursday June 27

Lynas announced on Thursday its plans to start producing separated heavy rare earth products at its large light rare earth refinery in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Commissioning and ramp up is scheduled for the middle of 2025, with an estimated throughput capacity of 1,500 tonnes per year of a mixed heavy rare earth compound called SEGH (samarium, europium, gadolinium, holmium).

No initial estimates on dysprosium and terbium production capacity were available at the time of publishing.

Lynas owns and operates the Mount Weld rare earth mine in Western Australia and is one of the world’s largest producers of light rare earth product neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) oxide – the main rare earth raw material for neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets. NdPr comprises about a third of a finished magnet.

Lynas produced 6,142 tonnes of NdPr oxide in its financial year ended June 30 2023 and 4,151 tonnes in July 2023-April 2024. It recently completely upgrade work to increase its NdPr oxide capacity in Malaysia to 10,500 tonnes per year from 7,200 tpy. 

To function at high temperatures inside the drivetrain of electric and hybrid vehicles, high-performance NdFeB magnets also require trace amounts of heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium, a product for which there is currently no commercial production outside of China. 

“This is game over for China’s dominance of heavy rare earths,” Christopher Ecclestone, principal at mining consultancy Hallgarten, said.

The capital expenditure for the heavy rare earth production capacity in Malaysia is $25 million and will be provided from the Lynas Malaysia industrial plan, the company said in a statement.

The project will expand its heavy rare earth product range to five – dysprosium, terbium, holmium concentrate, unseparated SEGH concentrate and unseparated SEGH. 

Lynas is also developing production capacity for light and heavy rare earth products in the US and has received funding of close to $300 million from the US Department of Defense.

Start-up of the plant, located in Seadrift Texas, is scheduled for 2025-2026, with an estimated production capacity of 1,000-1,300 tpy of light rare earth NdPr oxide and 2,500-3,000 tpy of heavy rare earth oxides.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for neodymium-praseodymium oxide 99% ratio (75:25), fob China was $50-52 per kg on June 20, unchanged from the preceding assessment.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for dysprosium oxide 99.5%, fob China was $255-305 per kg on the same date, also unchanged from the week prior.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for terbium oxide 99.99%, fob China was also flat at $790-855 per kg on June 20.

Stay informed, make confident decisions and navigate the dynamic rare earths market with Fastmarkets. 

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