By Philip Wen, Sydney Morning Herald

LYNAS CORP will submit plans demonstrating the safety of its Malaysian rare earths processing plant by next month, as it races to receive approval from government and regulatory bodies to operate by the end of the year.

The safety plan, addressing the long-term storage of radioactive waste produced by the plant, being built in Kuantan, in the state of Pahang, is one of 11 recommendations imposed on Lynas by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month. The agency’s independent review found no breaches of international safety standards.

Lynas and Malaysia’s atomic energy regulators have also agreed to complete a separate health study to try to appease local communities.

The plant has been the subject of public fears of possible radioactive contamination. There have been in sustained protests from residents and activists.

Rare earths are coveted for the crucial role they play in a range of modern technologies, including hybrid cars, smartphones, iPads and flat screen televisions.

China dominates 97 per cent of global production but has been restricting exports, prompting miners elsewhere to overcome complex hurdles to enter production and benefit from soaring rare earth prices.

Arafura Resources said yesterday it had made ”substantial” new rare earths discoveries at its Nolans Bore deposit in the Northern Territory.

Alkane Resources signed a memorandum of understanding this week with Mintech for a zirconium joint venture.

Meanwhile, fledgling rare earths miner Northern Minerals, in which Lynas owns a 7.6 per cent stake, surged as much as 15 per cent yesterday on news it had found ”significant” quantities of heavy rare earths at its Browns Range project in northern Western Australia.

In its quarterly activity report, Lynas said the indicative quarterly price for rare earths had increased 86 per cent in the three months to the end of June, and had already surged another 30 per cent so far this month.