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Molycorp narrows loss in quarter as revenues surge

Molycorp, which owns the rare earths mine in Mountain Pass, Calif., just south of Primm, narrowed its fourth-quarter loss on sharply higher revenues.

Sales jumped nearly tenfold to $21.7 million, as the company more actively marketed supplies it had on hand and restarted mining after an eight-year hiatus.

But an increase in several expense items, particularly stock-based compensation, meant that the net loss dropped only to $7.9 million, or 10 cents a share, from a net loss of $9.1 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier.

Molycorp’s true performance won’t become apparent until next year, when the company finishes the first phase of a plan to rebuild its mining and processing facilities at the Mountain Pass mine along Interstate 15 in California.

For all of 2010, Molycorp sales quintupled to $35.2 million, while the net loss widened to $49.1 million, or 79 cents a share, from $28.6 million, or 72 cents a share, in 2009.

Molycorp shares fell $1.15, or 2.31 percent, Wednesday to close at $48.62 in regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. But in after-hours trading, Molycorp shares reversed course and rose, climbing $1.73, or 3.56 percent, to reach $50.35 at 7 p.m. PDT.

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