SYDNEY, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Australia’s Lynas Corp Ltd said on Monday it expects to produce commercial rare earth products in the next few weeks from its controversial plant in Malaysia, after commissioning the plant’s cracking and leaching units.
The process has achieved recovery rates of more than 90 percent of contained rare earth oxides through the cracking units, which are now ready for production of individual rare earth products, the company said.
“Lynas anticipates commercial rare earth products will be available in the next few weeks with ramp up of production to take place over the next three months,” the company said in a statement.
Lynas shares jumped 8.0 percent to A$0.68 in late morning trade to a five-week high, but are still well below levels above $1.40 around a year ago.
Lynas has been embroiled in lengthy environmental and safety disputes with residents near the plant, and the Malaysian high court is due to hear an application for judicial reviews to block its operations on Feb. 5.
The $800 million plant, which opponents say is environmentally hazardous, began operations in November 2012 after long delays caused by legal challenges and safety disputes. Located in the east coast city of Kuantan, it had been ready to fire up since May 2012.
Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Pullin