Molycorp said on Wednesday that it has finished the chloralkili plant at its rare earth mine at Mountain Pass, Calif., and begun what could be several months of testing.
The plant recycles wastewater from mining operations to produce the hydrochloric acid and caustic soda used in processing the minerals. This will eliminate the expense of trucking in the chemicals and hauling away the water.
Molycorp has not specified a date when the plant will clear its startup phase and go into full operation.
In addition, an on-site processing facility called a cracking plant has also been finished and entered the testing phase.
These two projects mark the end of Project Phoenix, the extensive renovation of the mine that cost $1.5 billion. Molycorp employs 400 people at Mountain Pass, about 15 miles south of Primm, almost all of whom commute from Las Vegas.