Lynas Corp Ltd

With all major obstacles subtly removed by the Malaysian Government, LAMP will definitely commence operations in 2012 despite the “Stop Lynas” demonstrations unless BN loses at the polls

Hakim Joe

Lynas Corp Ltd (LYC) is an Australian rare earths mining company that is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since the 11th of September, 1986. Formerly known as Yilgangi Gold NL, the company was founded in 1983 as a gold mining company but since has divested all its gold operations to focus on rare earth as its core mining business.

Founded by Nicholas Curtis, formerly the executive director of Macquarie Group Ltd., Curtis has since transformed himself from being an international banker to a miner. LYC possesses two major operations – a mining and concentration plant in Mount Weld in Western Australia and the controversial refining facility in Gebeng, Kuantan in Malaysia named the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

So, who is Nicholas Anthony Curtis?

Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Communication Studies from Northwestern University, Nicholas has since ventured far from his educational background and has done extremely well with a reported earning of A$3,808,720 in 2011 from LCL alone.

Currently, besides serving as the CEO of LCL, Nicholas also the non-executive chairman of Forrestania Gold NL. In the past, he has served as the Chairman of Sino Gold Mining Ltd. (2000-2005), a non-executive director of Conquest Mining Ltd. (2010-present), non-executive chairman of Forge Resources Ltd. (2010-present), a director of the Sisters of Charity Health Service and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Managing Director of Asia Resource Capital Ltd., the President of Sino Mining International Ltd. (1995-2001), the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Staar Surgical Company (2002-2009), the Vice President of Laser Vision Centers Inc., Vice President for TLC Vision Inc. (1998-2002), an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank Limited (1990-1994) and the Chairman of St Vincent’s & Mater Health Sydney Limited (2004-2009).

Other positions inside non-listed entities include being directors of Kumamba Mining Pty. Ltd., Lynas Africa Holdings Pty. Ltd., Lynas Services Pty. Ltd., Mt Weld Holdings Pty. Ltd., Mt. Weld Mining Pty. Ltd., Mt. Weld Rare Earths Pty. Ltd., NOC Resources Pty. Ltd, Nyco Pty. Ltd., Riverstone Advisory Pty. Ltd., Riverstone Capital Pty. Ltd., Wilkes Holdings Pty. Ltd., and Wilkes Minerals Pty. Ltd.

As of the 15th of June 2012, Nicholas possesses a 31,000,000 share options in LYC alone and with the share price listed at A$0.880 on the ASX, Nicholas is worth approximately A$27,280,000 (RM86,695,840).

In 2011, Nicholas was awarded the AM (Member in the General Division) by Queen Elizabeth II alleged for “community through executive roles supporting medical research and health care organizations, and to Australia-China business relations”. All very good and well except for his son Oliver Curtis, who is currently being investigated for insider trading by the Australian SE Regulator (ASIC).

In Malaysia, the construction of RM2.5 billion LAMP (Phase 1) is completed (in May 2012) despite cost overruns of up to A$40 million. The Post Treatment Workshop including the Precipitation Tanks and Centrifuges are completed. So is the Calcination Workshop that houses the Tunnel Furnaces. Key activities associated with first heat up of the rotary kilns has commenced including system interlock inspections and initiation of burner trials and lastly, the overall system pre-commissioning test pack progress is completed.

Basically, LAMP is ready to commence operations except for a minor glitch that is the Malaysian Public. Malaysia’s last rare earth refinery — operated by Japan’s Mitsubishi group in northern Perak state — was closed in 1992 following protests and claims that it caused birth defects and leukemia among residents. It is one of Asia’s largest radioactive waste cleanup sites.

As of June 15th, 2012, the Malaysian Government has imposed two new conditions on LYC i.e. for LYC to submit a plan to immobilize radioactive elements in its waste, and an emergency response plan on dust control. On the same day, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, issued a statement saying that there is, “no strong justification nor scientific or technical basis” to set aside the temporary 2-year operating license given to the plant in January 2012. Later that day, the LAMP’s managing director, Mashal Ahmad, stated that, “We already have the answers for the two new conditions”.

LAMP is the largest rare earth refining plant outside China. Demand is so strong that there are buyers for all the rare earths it can process in its first 10 years of operation. It would supply about 11,000 tons in its first year, eventually rising to 22,000 tons once Phase 2 is

With all major obstacles subtly removed by the Malaysian Government, LAMP will definitely commence operations in 2012 despite the “Stop Lynas” demonstrations unless BN loses at the polls. Should Pakatan win at the polls, all that is required is a suspension of the Temporary Operating License (TOL) issued to LYC in January 2012 while a new Parliamentary Select Committee reassess the LAMP operations for the next five years (or ten years should Pakatan get reelected). A fully completed operating plant that never started operations is a money pit.

Who will you vote for now?