Lynas flags low production

Shares in rare earths miner Lynas (LYC) finished down 2.44% at $0.40 yesterday after the company provided an operational update indicating another quarter of low production volumes at its Malaysian plant.

The company said that a number of operational programs to improve the capability of the cracking units at the Malaysian material plant, which were announced in the company’s June quarter activity report, were now complete.

However, the remaining work programs to improve the capability of the plant’s leaching units are ongoing.

The work programs are necessary to get Phase 1 of the plant to nameplate production capacity, although the company said the extent and sustainability of operational improvements cannot be assessed until everything is complete.

With commercial rare earths production at a reduced volume until completion of the programs, the company said the work is targeted to be wrapped up by the end of 2013.

Two weeks ago, Lynas said it had received relief on payment of a US$225m loan from Japan’s Sojitz Corporation due to weaker demand and delays at the Malaysian plant.

The original facility had outlined profit and production targets by January, which Lynas was required to meet in lieu of an early payment of US$35m. The amended schedule pushes out the repayments to US$10m in January next year, US$35m in September 2014 and the remainder of the sum in 2015/16.

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