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Avalon picks La. site for new operation

Keywords: Tags  Avalon Rare Metals, rare earths, separation facility, refinery, Don Bubar, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Avalon Rare Metals Inc. has decided to build its planned $300-million heavy rare earths separation plant and refinery in Geismar, a small Louisiana town on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

"Our team investigated over a dozen sites and found that the Geismar site offered several important advantages, including proximity to producers of the chemicals needed in the process, excellent transportation infrastructure, a well-trained work force and a favorable business environment," president and chief executive officer Don Bubar said in a statement.

The facility will have the capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of rare earths oxide from a mixed rare earths concentrate mined at Avalon’s Nechalacho deposit in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and the 150-acre property also will allow for an expansion to treat third-party concentrate or accommodate an expansion at Nechalacho, according to the company.

Toronto-based Avalon said that a definitive feasibility study is set to be completed in the second quarter of 2013, after which project financing will be finalized and construction will begin in 2015.

The facility will employ at least 175 people when operational, the company said.

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