Molycorp Mountain pass operation
Molycorp Mountain Pass operation

Global rare earths miner and producer Molycorp will place its California-based rare earths operation Mountain Pass on care and maintenance – within the next week.

The company, which first made the announcement in late August, revealed the mine would be shut no later than 20 October 2015. Its upgraded and expanded facilities only became operational late in 2013.

In June this year Molycorp filed for bankruptcy and is in financial woes due to the sharp and rapid decline of rare earths prices recently.

The company still however plans to continue serving its rare earth oxide customers via its production facilities in Estonia and China although Bloomberg has revealed the company is looking to sell non-US assets.

The Molycorp Mountain Pass mine will maintain its idled machinery and equipment to ensure it remains in a safe and stable condition, and that government regulatory commitments can be met.

Rare earth pricing, which has declined dramatically over the past four years, was a key factor in the decision to suspend rare earth production at Mountain Pass, company officials say.

In South Africa, Frontier Rare Earths has been given board approval to delist from the TSX, admitting it is in financial difficulties due to the drop in rare earths pricing. The company is looking to develop its Zandkopsdrift rare earth mine in South Africa.

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