The chief executive of the largest rare earths producer outside of China says Lynas is “engaged” with the needs of its European customers but she remains coy on a firm timeline for its $730 million Kalgoorlie expansion project. Lynas boss Amanda Lacaze was grilled at the miner’s annual meeting in Sydney on Wednesday about whether the company — which is already juggling commissioning of a new processing facility and expansion to its Mt Weld mine in the northern Goldfields — was looking to further expand its international reach. Under a recent deal struck with the US government, Lynas is also set to send rare earths from Mt Weld for processing at a new plant being built in Texas, with the US taxpayer covering the costs for construction. Asked whether the company might look to repeat these projects in the UK or Europe, Ms Lacaze said Lynas had strong ties with European customers, but that there was no firm announcement in the pipeline. “We are engaged and certainly we have an understanding, we have many of our customers, or our customers’ customers in Europe,” she said. “We also are engaged with those who would seek to find ways to process and otherwise, but we’re not in a position to make any announcements about that at this stage.” Quizzed about the progress of the company’s over-budget Kalgoorlie expansion project, currently in the commissioning phase, Ms Lacaze refrained from committing to a firm date for the operation to start first carbonate production or when it would hit name-plate capacity. “There’s always a little bit of uncertainty . . . as you commission a new plant and as you deal with all of the issues . . . that is why you have a significant commissioning phase,” she said. “We are progressively moving through commissioning of all of the other stages, most of which are fully commissioned now. We have all of our raw materials on site, we’re just awaiting a final sign off from the gas inspector.” The gas treatment plant was one of the final items standing in the way of completion and first rare earth carbonate production, which was previously targeted for the September quarter. The company has previously said ramp up was “inherently unpredictable”. Labour availability has been another key issue for Lynas in advancing the project as Kalgoorlie suffers a residential accommodation squeeze. In October, Lynas revealed it had managed to renew its Malaysian operating licence for another three years, meaning the miner can process lanthanide concentrate from Mt Weld at downstream operations in Kuantan until 2026. The Malaysian government had previously expressed concerns about low-level radioactive waste left behind from the cracking and leaching process, demanding Lynas move that process offshore as part of the licence conditions. Ms Lacaze said at Wednesday’s AGM securing the licence update without conditions that could have constrained its operations was a major achievement. Resolutions to re-elect the board and rubber stamp its remuneration report at the AGM passed comfortably, with new chair John Humphrey voted in to replace outgoing chair Kathleen Conlon.