Australia-based rare-earths mining firm Lynas has been awarded  major project status by the Australian government for its rare-earths processing plant in Kalgoorlie.

The award offers a single entry point for Commonwealth government approvals along with assistance with state government approvals.

The Kalgoorlie plant will carry out cracking and leaching of rare earth concentrate from Lynas’ Mt Weld mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

Lynas stated that the plant will be a foundation for the development of infrastructure in Kalgoorlie, including utilities and chemical production beyond the rare earths industry.

The Kalgoorlie processing plant is in line with important government policies, including the Critical Minerals Strategy, and policies around regional development, value-added processing and infrastructure development.

Lynas CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze said: “Developing a robust and resilient critical minerals and Rare Earths industry is a priority for the Australian Government and Lynas is in a unique position to contribute to this as we are the only significant Rare Earths producer outside China.

“This formal support by the Australian Government recognises the importance of our new Rare Earths processing plant in Kalgoorlie to Australia’s critical minerals aspirations, as well as to jobs and investment in regional Western Australia.

“Lynas will be making a significant investment in Kalgoorlie and the Government’s assistance with coordinating and facilitating approvals will be very helpful as the project progresses.

Lynas’ Kalgoorlie plant to create up to 500 jobs

During peak construction, the plant is expected to generate up to 500 jobs and increase the manpower of the company in the Goldfields to more than 200 people.

The project has also been awarded Lead Agency status by the Western Australian government, as announced on 19 December 2019.

Last December, Lynas had selected Kalgoorlie in Western Australia as the location for its new cracking and leaching plant.

The company had said that it had selected Kalgoorlie from two shortlisted locations in the Goldfields region after extensive due diligence, and the plant will create new jobs and lays foundation for a critical minerals hub in the Goldfields region.