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Lynas Mount Weld Mine

Lynas Corporation Ltd is an ASX listed company, with the strategy to create a reliable, fully integrated source of Rare Earths from mine through to market, and to become the benchmark for the security of supply and environmental standards in the global Rare Earths industry. The foundation of this strategy is Mount Weld in Western Australia, the richest known deposit of Rare Earths in the world, and a state-of-the-art Rare Earths processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), under construction near Kuantan in Pahang, Malaysia. Production was scheduled for third quarter of 2011. A bankable feasibility study, including pilot plants, was completed on the Rare Earths deposit at Mount Weld. The first mining campaign was completed on time and on budget. Currently, Lynas is constructing a Concentration Plant at Mount Weld and the LAMP. The LAMP is being built in Malaysia due to the readily available industrial infrastructure, including industrial land, sources of gas, water and electricity, re-agents from local suppliers and a port that can manage container, chemical and bulk shipments.

While China dominates the production of Rare Earths, the Chinese resource base is fragile. The release of the second tranche of Chinese Rare Earths export quota for 2010 by the Ministry of Commerce resulted in a 40% decrease in available export quota in 2010 compared to 2009. This coincided with the launch of a nationwide crackdown on illegal mining of Rare Earths in China. Tightening supply and strong demand has led to Rare Earths prices rising rapidly. The average Mount Weld composition price is US$70.23/kg as at 6 December 2010.

Lynas Mount Weld Mine [1 MB] Lynas Mount Weld Mine [3 MB]

"Super Pit" Mine

Long valued for its ornamental, monetary, and even scientific applications, gold has attracted speculators and miners throughout human history. The greatest quantities of gold mined today occur in ore-rock containing trace amounts of valuable materials. Obtaining even small quantities of gold usually requires extracting huge quantities of ore from open-pit or underground mines.

One of the largest open-pit mines is the "Super Pit" Mine near the city of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. On February 15, 2010, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this true-color image of Super Pit and part of the neighboring town of Kalgoorlie. The pit that gives the mine its name appears in the center of the image, and some of the steep pit's walls appear in shadow while others are illuminated by the Sun.

Related mining operations form a rough semicircle on the eastern side of the pit; a cluster of buildings east-northeast of the pit is Fimiston Mill, where ore is processed. Waste dumps and gray-white tailings ponds sprawl over the arid landscape. Tailings are the rocks and chemicals left over after the gold is extracted. Because the chemicals used to separate gold from rock are often caustic, tailings usually pose hazards to human and/or environmental health and must be treated carefully.

The metropolitan area of Kalgoorlie, marked by street grids and manicured green spaces, extends almost to the mine's central pit. An airport, marked by a long runway, appears along the city's southern margin. Founded during a late-nineteenth-century gold rush, Kalgoorlie, like the neighboring mine, occurs near an area nicknamed the "Golden Mile," which is considered especially rich in gold deposits.

As the beige and reddish colors in the image indicate, vegetation in the area is sparse. Like much of Western Australia, the area around Kalgoorlie and Super Pit is semi-arid, with hot summers and cool winters. January (summer) temperatures in Kalgoorlie frequently reach 40 degrees Celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit).

Sunrise Dam Gold Mine

Sunrise Dam Gold MineRoughly 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of Laverton, Western Australia, lies the Sunrise Dam Gold Mine. A gold deposit was discovered in the area in 1988, and by 1995, the mine was open for business. Started as an open pit mine, the operation expanded to include underground mining in 2003. The mine produces roughly 460,000 ounces of gold each year, according to AngloGold Ashanti, which operates the mine.

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this true-color image of the Sunrise Dam Gold Mine on December 4, 2009. The main pit's terraced landscape appears in shades of gray in the left half of this image, and what appears to be a smaller, rectangular pit appears on the right. In 2008, the central pit at Sunrise Dam reportedly reached a depth of 440 meters (1,445 feet). The straight line running diagonally through the lower right quadrant of the image is probably a landing strip; miners at Sunrise Dam frequently fly in and out of the remote area.

Away from the mining operation, the landscape appears in shades of brown. The physical environment around Sunrise Dam Gold Mine is flat and arid, comprised of sand and gypsum-rich dunes and saltpans. Acacia trees and shrubs well adapted to dry environments make up the vegetation in this warm, dry region.



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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:33:55 ZULU