* Molycorp discloses SEC probe in regulatory filing
* Shares fall 13.5 percent to $7.51 on NYSE
* Stock hits new lifetime low
(Adds background, share movement)
Nov 9 Shares of Molycorp fell to new
lows on Friday after the rare earth producer revealed in a
regulatory filing that it is under investigation by the
Securities and Exchange Commission over the accuracy of its
disclosures, among other things.
The company said that it is co-operating with the SEC and
cannot predict the length or scope of the investigation. It is
not clear if there will be any impact on operations.
Molycorp was notified of the SEC's investigation in August,
according to the filing. No further details were given.
The company, which mines, processes and sells rare earths,
reported a third-quarter loss after the market closed on
Thursday, but came in above analyst expectations.
That beat initially boosted Molycorp's shares, which opened
up 6.5 percent Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.
But the stock plunged 13.5 percent after the regulatory filing
was made public, twice triggering circuit breakers.
Molycorp's shares have more than halved in value since the
beginning of 2012, weighed down by falling rare earth prices and
risk-wary investors. The stock hit a new lifetime low of $7.51
on Friday, well below its 52-week high of $41.72 in November
Rare earth companies like Molycorp were once the darlings of
the mining sector, as top producer China clamped down on exports
sending rare earth metal and oxide prices skyrocketing.
But prices have dropped sharply since early 2011, dragging
shares of producers with them. Rare earths are a small but
essential ingredient in high-tech items like smartphones, tablet
computers and hybrid cars.
Molycorp is one of just a handful of rare earth producers
outside of China. The company has nearly completed a major
expansion at its Mountain Pass mine in California.
Its shares were down 13.5 percent to $7.51 on Friday
afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by David Gregorio and Tim