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Lynas Malaysia can be a catalyst for investments in green energy, says Lynas Rare Earths COO

Lynas Malaysia can be a catalyst for investments in green energy, says Lynas Rare Earths COO

15 Dec 2022

Lynas Malaysia can be a catalyst for investment in the nation’s green energy and critical mineral sector, as Malaysia is home to the only significant non-Chinese supplier of rare earth elements (REEs), said chief operating officer of Lynas Rare Earths, Pol Le Roux.

He said other Asean countries have been able to attract billions of foreign direct investment in downstream manufacturing of high performance magnets and other related technologies which need rare earth elements and create thousands of new jobs.

“As an example, the development of a Malaysian super magnet factory to serve the automotive industry could produce 5,000 tonnes of NdFeb (Neodymium Iron Boron) magnets and create up to 5,000 jobs and investment of RM1 billion,” he said in a statement in conjunction with the “Mastering the Knowledge of Non-Radioactive Rare Earth Elements for Future Sustainability” conference that was held here on Thursday (Dec 15).

According to Le Roux, Malaysia has the opportunity to be a world leader in an industry that supports technologies used every day, like cars and smartphones, as well as future facing industries such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. 

Meanwhile, Lynas Malaysia vice president Datuk Seri Mashal Ahmad said Malaysia should take full advantage of its rare earth deposits and its downstream activities such as cracking and leaching, solvent extraction and product finishing. 

He said the country is well positioned with downstream rare earths processing expertise at Lynas’ factory in Kuantan, Pahang, and therefore, the energy crisis provides opportunities for Malaysia to move forward upstream and downstream. 

“A national rare earths policy or framework would be the ideal next step to promote future developments in Malaysia’s downstream industry. Malaysia has a strategic advantage as home to the only significant non-Chinese supplier of rare earth products and we can utilise this competitive advantage to further develop the local rare earths and advanced manufacturing industries,” he said. 

Mashal said Lynas Malaysia has spent over a decade developing in-house global expertise in the field, whereby rare earths processing at Lynas Malaysia has created an estimated 4,600 jobs in the Malaysia economy, including almost 900 direct jobs and contributed RM4.8 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product since 2013.

“Malaysia needs more high paying jobs to address the rising cost-of-living, and jobs at Lynas Malaysia are high value jobs which are good for our people. Further development of the industry will create new highly-skilled jobs in Malaysia and provide a local source of supply to Malaysian manufacturing industries, including motor vehicles and electrical appliances,” he said. 

Marshal also pleaded that the government standardise and not change regulations regarding rare earth element processing too often, to attract and keep investors in the industry. 

“For investors to come into the country and to invest billions of dollars, they will create thousands of jobs; it is very important that the regulations are not changed every now and then,” he said. 

He added that Malaysia must not let this opportunity of having the biggest REEs supplies outside China to slip away and start focusing on local REEs processing, as well as expand its role in the global rare earth manufacturing industry, instead of letting Vietnam use Malaysian resources. 

Source: Bernama