The LAMP, Kuantan, Malaysia
The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) is one of the largest and most modern rare earths separation plants in the world. The LAMP is designed to treat the Mt Weld concentrate and produce separated Rare Earths Oxide (REO) products for sale to customers in locations including Japan, Europe, China and North America.
The LAMP is located in the Gebeng Industrial Estate near Kuantan, Malaysia, close to the Kuantan deep-water port. The plant is built on a 100 hectare site that is adjacent to established manufacturers of key chemical reagents within the industrial estate, and has access to a skilled labour force and excellent infrastructure including water and electricity, chemical and gas supplies.
The plant was designed to comply with the modern safety and environmental practices to support our aim of providing a sustainable supply chain of rare earths. Lynas is committed to engaging with and being a respected part the local community in Kuantan. We employ more than 600 people from the local community.
The LAMP has been designed and built in two phases, with full Phase 2 capacity capable of producing up to 22,000 tonnes per annum of separated REO products. Commissioning of the LAMP started in late 2012. Currently, the most valuable product produced at the LAMP is praseodymium/neodymium, NdPr. Lynas produced its first Rare Eaths products for customers in February 2013.
There are three steps in the processing of the Mt Weld concentrate:
1. Cracking and Leaching
Mt Weld concentrate, which is essentially rare earth phosphate mineral, is mixed with concentrated sulphuric acid and cracked at a high temperature to convert the rare earth phosphate minerals to rare earth sulphate. Water is added to the rare earth sulphate in the leaching stage and impurities in the form of iron phosphogypsum are removed. The solution is neutralised to provide rare earth solution as feed to solvent extraction.
Two out of the four 60 metre long gas fired kilns where the rare earth concentrate/acid mixture is “cracked” to become rare earth sulphate suitable for water leaching.
2. Solvent Extraction
Solvent Extraction (SX) employs two liquid phases (organic and aqueous) and is carried out in liquid-liquid counter current SX trains to progressively separate the rare earths into groups and individual elements. The main products are light rare earths including praseodymium/neodymium – PrNd; cerium – Ce; lanthanum – La; LaCe – lanthanum cerium solutions, and medium/heavy rare earths (samarium, europium, gadolinium – SEG and other Heavy Rare Earths – HRE) solutions.
PrNd oxalate entering one of eight tunnel furnaces for calcination into NdPr oxide
3. Product Finishing
In the final stage of the process, the rare earth elements in the solution are precipitated as solid carbonates or oxalates. Some are then calcined (cooked) to the respective oxides. The LAMP produces NdPr oxide, Ce carbonate, Ce oxide, LaCe carbonate and LaCe oxide, and SEG oxide.
Filled bags of finished Lynas product
Synthetic Mineral Products
An iron phosphogypsum product is generated from the water leach process. Water from the plant is treated in multi-stages of an acid neutralisation and a solid Magnesium Rich Gypsum product is generated.
The iron phosphogypsum and magnesium rich gypsum products are stored on site in dedicated approved facilities. Development work is well advanced to develop applications for the re-use of these products.