Molycorp’s subsidiary has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract to KBR to construct a new chlor-alkali plant at its $781m Project Phoenix in California, US.

The contract is part of the expansion and modernisation of Molycorp’s rare earth facility.

The chlor-alkali plant will allow Molycorp to recycle virtually all of the water used in the chemical separation of individual rare earth elements at Mountain Pass.

The plant will also allow the company to recycle the chemical reagents needed in rare earth oxide manufacture, reducing the environmental footprint of US rare earth production at Mountain Pass.

Molycorp chief technology officer and executive vice president John Burba said the technology will help position Molycorp as environmentally superior in the rare earth manufacturing, as well as the world’s lowest cost producer.