December 12, 2019 / 11:41 PM / 5 months ago

Australian rare earths producer Lynas to submit plant tender to U.S. Army

Dec 13 (Reuters) - Australia’s Lynas Corp on Friday said it would submit a compliant tender in response to the U.S. Department of Defense’s call for proposals to build a heavy rare earths separation plant in the United States.

The world’s only major rare earths producer outside China said in a statement the tender period was not yet closed. It gave no other details.

Reuters on Wednesday had reported about the U.S. Army plans to fund construction of rare earths processing facilities, as part of an urgent push by Washington to secure domestic supply of the minerals used to make military weapons and electronics.

The United States is looking to safeguard supplies of rare earths as the protracted trade war with China fuelled concerns that Beijing may look to restrict supply of the key minerals, which has raised the spotlight on Lynas.

Sources familiar with the matter had said the joint venture between Lynas and privately held Blue Line Corp is among the expected respondents to the tender, and responses are due by Dec. 16.

The two firms earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding to build a rare earth processing facility in Texas.

Other miners mentioned are UCore Rare Metals Inc and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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