Rare earths producer Lynas Corp has signed a contract with the US Department of Defense to begin initial design work for a heavy rare earth separation facility in Texas.
The Pentagon is providing initial funding for the project.
The Phase 1 funding forms part of a concerted effort by Washington to reduce the United States’ reliance on China as the world’s largest producer of the strategic minerals used to make missiles, cell phones and a range of other high-tech equipment.
Lynas, the largest rare earth producer outside China, expects to finish the planning and design work for the facility in fiscal 2021.
The facility will process heavy rare earths sourced from Lynas’ flagship Mt Weld mine in Western Australia, which the company says will then become the “only source of separated Heavy Rare Earths outside China.”