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MT WELD

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About:

The Lynas Corporation owns the Mount Weld Rare Earth mine at Laverton in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia through its fully owned subsidiary Mount Weld Mining Pty Ltd. The mine is operated on a daily basis by mining contractor Roche Mining Pty Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Downer EDI Limited. Th contract includes the mining of the rare earth as well as the stockpiling of waste and ore. Roche mining commenced work at the site in mid 2007.


New Mount Weld Concentration Plant Commissioned
Lynas completed construction work of the Mount Weld Concentration Plant and had it crushing its first ore and feeding it through the ball mill in May 2011. Since going into full production the concentration plant has exceeded all expectations producing final concentration grades ahead of planned targets. At the end of the first quarter of 2013 the mill produced 15,593 dry tonnes of concentrate containing 5,500 tonnes of Rare Earth Oxide (REO) for the export market.


The fully operational concentration plant was handed over to the construction contractor in early March 2013 for the commissioning of the Phase 2 circuit and the completion of the final tie-ins. Dry and wet concentrate commissioning was also completed in March 2013 and the final ore commissioning took place in April.


Mount Weld Resource Continues to Grow
In January 2012, mineral resource estimates at the Mount Weld Mine stood at 23.9 million tonnes. This resource returned a grading of around 7.9 percent that would be expected to return a total of 1.9 million tonnes of REO. This figure was up 37 percent on the previous resource estimated obtained in September 2010 and a 34 percent increase over the previously stated REO. The resources being quoted are those contained in the Duncan and the Central Lanthanide Deposits. The CLD (Central Lanthanide Deposit) now has a resource of 14 .9 million tonnes and the Duncan Deposit nine million tonnes.


Pit Optimisation Carried out by AMDAD
Preliminary pit optimisation, mining schedules and pit design was completed by Australian Mine Design and Development Pty Ltd (AMDAD). This work was carried out midway through the CLD and it confirmed the company's earlier belief that the operation was to be a low risk mining project. The high ore grades that are readily available means ore production at the Mount Weld Mine can be kept at a relative low level. This means to obtain 11,000 tonnes of REO in a year the mine will have to produce 121,000 tonnes of ore. This would give a mine life of more than 20 years.


Rare Earth Market Conditions Tighten
Market conditions have hit the Rare Earth industry rather severely in recent times and at the end of 2012 they remained substantially subdued as the consuming companies, mainly in China, have continued to defer ongoing purchases. Many are still working through their own stockpiles that came about during a crisis period in 2010/11. This caused the big Chinese Rare Earth producers, Chinalco and Minmetals to temporarily suspend production at some of their facilities during the last quarter of 2012. One company, Baotou Hi-Tech, actually extended their temporary suspension to the end of January 2013.
China's Ministry of Land and Resources has set 2013 first batch domestic production quotas at 46,900 tonnes. This is about half the size of the quotas set for the last two years. The second half of 2013 production quotas will be announced during the second quarter.
 

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