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Rare earths miner Lynas said it had lodged two administrative appeals to the Malaysian government over the recent renewal of its operating licence in that country, which prohibits the import and processing of lanthanide concentrate after the start of July, and which would mean the closure of its cracking and leaching facility in the country.

The company told shareholders that the first appeal is against the decision of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) in failing to consider Lynas’ application for the removal of these licence conditions while the second appeal is seeking administrative review of the conditions.

In the meantime, the company is planning for several ramp-up scenarios at its Kalgoorlie facility, citing the “inherent unpredictability” of commissioning.

Lynas said that inventory is being built at all stages in the process to assist in meeting key customer requirements during any potential transition period between the Malaysian operations and the Kalgoorlie operations.

“This has been an eventful half year for Lynas with the announcement of our Mt Weld capacity expansion project and accelerated construction activity on the Kalgoorlie Facility. At the same time, in Malaysia we overcame significant water supply issues to deliver a strong production result,” said CEO and MD Amanda Lacaze.

“We continue to see increased demand from our customers who value Lynas’ unique position as a responsible and reliable supplier and we remain focused on serving our customers by executing our ambitious growth plan.”

Lynas reported a net profit after tax of $150.1-million for the first half of the 2023 financial year, down from the $156.9-million reported in the previous corresponding period, while revenue increased from $314.8-million to $370-million in the same year.

Cost of sales increased from $140.3-million to $185-million.

“These results were achieved despite significant production challenges due to water supply issues in the first quarter and the start of the second quarter as well as rapid increases in costs, particularly for chemical inputs,” Lacaze said.

“Our team remains focused on increasing operational efficiencies to mitigate the continuing high-cost environment. At the same time, increasing production to meet strong demand from our key customers and delivering on our exciting growth projects remain key priorities.”

“While rare earths market pricing decreased slightly from the highs experienced at the end of the 2022 financial year, market conditions remained stable and an optimised product mix enabled the team to achieve an improved average selling price.”