Lynas CEO Digs In as Rare-Earth Prices Slump – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – September 1, 2015)

CEO Amanda Lacaze says it is time for Lynas to invest more in sales and marketing to grow the business

SYDNEY—As rare-earths miner Molycorp Inc. looks to wind down production at its U.S. mine, Lynas Corp. Ltd., the only other producer outside of China, hopes to do the opposite and raise its output of elements used in batteries, magnets and other high-tech products.

To accomplish that goal, the Australian-listed miner plans to do one crucial thing: “Go out there and sell,” said Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze, in an interview.

Lynas, a former market darling, has found it tough to become a major competitor in the global rare-earths market.

The company was founded with an eye to breaking China’s stranglehold on the industry: The world’s second-largest economy has accounted for more than 90% of world-wide supply in recent times. But it took nearly a decade of development before Lynas began operations at its refinery in Malaysia’s Pahang state in late 2012.

Start-up of its processing plant in Malaysia was delayed by repeated legal challenges, and the ramp-up of the plant has since been hindered by technical setbacks and a relentless tumble in rare-earths prices.

Now, after working through reliability issues at its processing facility and restructuring its debts, Ms. Lacaze says it is time for Lynas to invest more in sales and marketing to grow the business.

“When this company was conceived, the idea was: Build it, and they will come,” she said. “But Lynas was born when prices were high, and the market has well and truly moved on.”

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