Lynas, Mara Corp ink MoU to explore downstream activity

Neodymium could create multiplying effects for another 20 downstream industries that use magnet in their businesses


RARE-EARTH producer Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Mara Corp Sdn Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on several key projects in the multibillion industry.

Mara Corp chairman Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi said Malaysia should not be left out in Lynas Corp Ltd’s plan, who aims to increase the rare-earth product by 50% in the next five years.

This, he said, indicates that the demand for the rare-earth downstream product would be very strong in the future.

“As of now, Lynas products are being sent all over the world, such as in Japan. Besides that, the products have also reached Europe and the US.

“The material is involved in a lot of industries, from devices like mobile phones, to a high-end turbine making, as well as in automotive production.

“We wish to attract these players to be here as the supply chain is very long,” Akhramsyah said after exchanging documents with Lynas Malaysia MD Datuk Mashal Ahmad in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The projects are expected to include attracting downstream industries and downstream education and training initiatives in Malaysia, commercialisation of NUF (neutralisation underflow residue) residues from the Lynas Malaysia plant in Gebeng, Pahang, including making soil conditioner (fertiliser) products to Malay farmers, as well as design and fabrication work related to the Lynas 2025 Project.

Rare-earth elements such as neodymium, Akhramsyah said, could create multiplying effects for another 20 downstream industries that use magnet in their businesses.

“So, the potential of this industry is growing at a very exponential way,” he said.

Akhramsyah said Mara Corp and Lynas would address the process of the non-radioactive residue, which he said could also be commercialised accordingly.

“We cannot touch on radioactive waste as it has been mandated by the government to resolve it, but for the non-radioactive waste, there is a commercial opportunity that we can look into it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mashal calls the country to “move forward” from the wrong sentiments and misperception over Lynas.

“For the last 12 years, I have spent my time fighting with groups that were making wild accusations without evidence,” he said, adding that studies have also been done and proven that the NUF in fertiliser is non-toxic and safe for use on food and non-food agriculture industries.

Lynas licence was renewed for another six months since September, with the conditions that Lynas will have to move its cracking and leaching process, which is currently conducted in its plant in Gebeng, out of the country.

The Australian-based firm was told to submit its plan for the construction of the cracking and leaching process overseas, besides proposing a specific site to build a permanent disposal facility in managing its rare-earth waste in Malaysia.

Lynas CEO/MD Amanda Lacaze said the company has already submitted all relevant documents to the related government agencies on this.