Molycorp Lays Out Game Plan For Future Mining

Wed, Aug 12, 2009

Industry News, Supply Chain

Yesterday, Molycorp Minerals, LLC issued a press release laying out its plans for renewed mining of rare earth materials at its Mountain Pass facility in California.

Molycorp indicates that they plan to get through processing the currently stockpiled ore from previous mining activities, before resuming active mining again in 2012.  After enough ore has been accumulated for two to three years of processing activity, mining will be paused.  This cycle will be repeated as needed, in order to reach Molycorp’s planned annual production rate of 40 million pounds [18,140 metric tonnes] of “finished Rare Earth products”

To put this number on context, current global usage of neodymium [Nd] for permanent magnets is around 23-25,000 metric tonnes of elemental Nd.  You can see therefore that if Molycorp reaches its projected targets, and if most of the new product is elemental Nd, then this will have a significant impact on global supply.

How this announced timeline factors into the proposed JV with Arnold Magnetic Technologies at this time, is not clear.

More details can be found here.

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Gareth is a Founding Principal at Technology Metals Research, LLC. He has expertise in a variety of magnetic materials, devices and applications, and their associated trends and challenges, particularly for renewable energy production. For more information check out his biography page. Don't forget to check out Terra Magnetica at Twitter too.

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