Lynas to avoid rare earths ‘price casino’

Lynas to avoid rare earths ‘price casino’

Australian miner Lynas Corporation said it is striving for price stability in the volatile rare earths market, moving to fixed contracts and other arrangements with a number of customers rather than continuing to “play at the rare earths price casino”.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze told shareholders at today’s annual general meeting the company was facing a new set of challengers in the 2016 financial year, after a tough slog of improving internal operations over the prior fiscal period.

The company recently managed to log positive free cashflow for the third straight quarter, despite difficult market conditions in which rare earths prices dropped to historic lows.

“Our focus in [the 2016 financial year] is to continue to improve our operations whilst tackling the challenges of the market in which we compete,” Ms Lacaze said.

Lynas had struck a number of deals to limit price volatility for its rare earths with fixed price contracts, and was eyeing further agreements, she told the meeting.

“We are continuing to work with a number of customers who are seeking price predictability up to 2017 – via a variety of pricing mechanisms,” she said.

“We believe working in partnership with these customers and together focusing on value creation will deliver greater growth for their businesses and for ours, than continuing to play at the rare earths price casino.”

Rare earth prices reached a peak in a mid-2011 boom before declining sharply as the global economy slowed. Shares in Lynas have fallen from $2.55 in April 2011 to around 9c currently, with the original 92 million shares on issue having been diluted to around 3.5 billion in order to survive as a company.

“Our objective is to separate our selling price from the volatility of published prices and to create product and pricing options that differentiate us from our competitors,” Ms Lacaze said.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, Lynas shares were up 3.37 per cent to 9.2c against a benchmark rise of 0.39 per cent.

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