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Lynas Corporation has signalled the start of development of its Kalgoorlie rare earths processing plant in Western Australia by awarding a contract to Metso Outotec.

The newly-merged company will supply the processing plant’s kiln – the largest and longest lead time piece of equipment required for Lynas’ operation.

The contract for the kiln, which measures 110 metres and weighs 1500 tonnes, will fetch around $US15 million ($21.6 million) for Metso Outotec. It will involve discharge housing, combustion chamber and burner, motor control stations and delivery to Kalgoorlie.

Metso Outotec will manufacture the kiln according to Lynas’ design. It will be an improvement to the four 60-metre kilns currently in operation at the Lynas Malaysia plant.

“The kiln is the longest lead time item for our Kalgoorlie project and placing this order is an important milestone in the development of our new processing plant in Kalgoorlie,” Lynas chief executive and managing director Amanda Lacaze said.

“We are making good progress on the project, and we look forward to working with Metso Outotec on the engineering and supply of the kiln.”

Metso Outotec plans to commence work on the kiln immediately, with components to be manufactured in Australia and Europe.

“We are excited having been selected by Lynas as a key supplier for the development of its significant greenfield project in Western Australia,” Metso president – mining equipment, Stephan Kirsch said.

“The Metso rotary kiln system forms an integral part for the processing of rare earths.”

The Kalgoorlie rare earths processing plant earned major project status from the Australian Government earlier this year.

It will undertake cracking and leaching of rare earth concentrate from Lynas’ Mt Weld mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.