Molycorp announces start of Californian rare earth operations

Molycorp Inc. (NYSE:MCP) has announced that its new Project Phoenix heavy rare earth concentrate facilities situated at Mountain Pass in California have commenced operation, marking the beginning of the US company's bid to challenge Chinese rare earth dominance.

Project Phoenix will produce heavy rare earth concentrate using ore mined in Mountain Pass. The concentrate will subsequently be processed into refined heavy rare earth products by other Molycorp units.

The heavy rare earth concentrate contains dysprosium, terbium, europium and other rare earth minerals which Molycorp will process into customized, high-purity products for use in renewable energy, consumer electronics and other high-tech sectors.

Molycorp's announcement two months ago that it would ramp up rare earth production drew considerable attention in the Chinese media, as the company poses a credible threat to China's monopoly grip on global rare earth mineral supply.

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