MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Lynas slumps as court delays Malaysian plant

Published by MAC on 2012-10-02
Source: The Age

Lynas slumps as court delays Malaysian plant

Lindsay Murdoch

The Age

26 September 2012

Australian miner Lynas Corp says a decision by a Malaysian high court to put on hold until October 4 its temporary licence to operate a controversial rare earths plant will not delay production.

The company confirmed the decision of the court in the Malaysian eastern city of Kuantan, near where the plant has been built, but said it plans to strongly reassert its rights at the next court hearing.

Lynas shares slumped as much as 6.5 cents, or 8.2 per cent, to 73 cents in early trade and were recently at 75 cents.

"The interim order is not anticipated to impact on Lynas' planned schedule because Lynas has planned for first feed to kiln at the Kuantan plant after 4 October 2012," Lynas said in a statement.

Malaysian opposition parties and some environmental groups have vowed to shut the plant which is likely to be a key issue in the country's national elections, which must be held by April next year.

The plant built to process material from Lynas' Mount Weld mine in Western Australia is seen as a potential game-changer to break China's domination of the rare earths industry.

Rare earths are used to make high-technology products such as smart phones, iPods and missiles.

Activists linked to the environmental group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas petitioned the Kuantan court to suspend the company's licence until two judicial review cases challenging the government's decision to operate are heard.

Previous legal efforts to stop the plant have failed.

Tan Bun Teet, a spokesman for the group that took the court action, said activists hope the court will put the licence on hold for a longer period on October 4.

"This is a small step in the right direction," he said.

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