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Lynas Says Malaysia Rare-Earth Refinery Nearly Complete

Lynas Corp., an Australian rare earths developer, said it’s near to completing its Malaysian refinery and will be ready to receive concentrate in the first quarter of 2012, pending regulatory approvals.

“We are in the final stages of the regulatory approvals process in Malaysia,” Nicholas Curtis, chairman of the Sydney-based company said today in a statement. “We have submitted all the requested documentation and the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board is now reviewing those documents ahead of making a decision.”

Malaysia imposed tighter environmental safety standards on the proposed plant in June following protests by local residents concerned about radiation. Shares in Lynas have dropped 39 percent since the June ruling, compared with the 13 percent decline in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Once in production, the plant will provide an alternative source of rare earths to China, which currently produces more than 90 percent of global supply of the 17 chemically similar elements used in magnets, hybrid cars and iPods. China has restricted rare-earth mining and cut exports to conserve resources and protect the environment.

Lynas climbed 3 percent to A$1.215 at the close of trading in Sydney.

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