Australian rare earth miner Lynas Corp will nearly end China's vice-like grip on rare earth metals that are used for everything from halogen lights and mobile handsets to precision-guided missiles after Malaysia granted the Sydney-based company license for its processing plant in Pahang.
Lynas won a temporary license for the nearly complete rare-earth refinery called Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) located in the eastern state of Pahang although it faced fierce resistance from critics over harmful radioactive waste.
Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has granted the licence for LAMP to begin operations for an initial two-year period under strict safety requirements.
Opponents have accused the miner, which has received a 10-year tax break for the refinery from the Malaysian government for locating the refinery in Malaysia. Lynas opted for Malaysia in order to avoid the more strngent regulations in its own home country.
Lynas owns the richest deposit of rare earths in the world at Mount Weld, in Western Australia. However the development as well as the construction of LAMP in Pahang was stuck due to the global financial crisis.
The licence allows LAMP to process the rare earth minerals from Lynas Mount Weld deposit and also allow the company to sell its products overseas.