Lynas takes charge of shipping amid rare earths boom

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When chaotic supply chains threatened to hamper Lynas’ ability to seize upon a 10-year high in rare earths prices, the company took matters into its own hands.

Rare earths miner Lynas has bypassed its normal shipping providers and chartered its own vessels to ensure it can reliably feed Australian ores into its Malaysian processing plant at a time of booming commodity prices.rare earth elements was likely to increase after three of the biggest Chinese producers merged to form a single company over the past month.

“It [chartering] presented itself as the only logical solution, and we think it continues to be a logical solution moving forward.“We are now complementing the rather less predictable commercial shipping with charter shipments of concentrate from Fremantle up to Malaysia, and that certainly has provided us with better stability and the ability to continue to operate the plant at the rates that we choose.

Lynas is the only major producer of rare earths outside of China, making the company strategically important at a time when nations such as Japan, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom are concerned about China being the dominant producer of the “critical minerals” required for defence applications and clean energy infrastructure.

“Fifteen years ago you had a very fragmented supply chain in China, so major buyers from the West [were] buying rare earths from a multitude of suppliers in China and the price was very low,” he said.“So, then they consolidated, and you saw the impact on price. Further consolidation is probably something good for the market.”

 

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