Yesterday the Australian stock exchange stopped trading on Lynas Corp., an Aussie company that mines and processes rare earth metals at locations in Malaysia and Western Australia, due to “environmentally hazardous construction and design problems,” at the company’s $230 million dollar plant in Kuantan, Malaysia. Currently under construction, the plant will be the largest rare-earth metals refinery in the world when completed. The International Energy Agency published a report that may force the company to cease construction of the facility, detailing concerns with design flaws and potential radioactive leaks that could emerge from structural weaknesses in the blueprints. Lynas claims that the questioned raised were “normal engineering concerns,” though it seems that the company was knowingly covering up wide-ranging safety issues at the refinery, in order to get operations up and running as quickly as possible.
Shares of Lynas dropped off 8.8% before the halt on trading, while today competing rare earth mining and processing companies Molycorp (NYSE:MCP), up 6.72%, Rare Element Res. Ltd. (AMEX:REE), up 5.05%, Avalon Rare Metals (AMEX:AVL), up 5.93%, and Polymet Mining Corp (AMEX:PLM), up 8.89%, are among the markets leading gainers.
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