The proposal is to establish a Rare Earth Treatment Plant at Pinjarra in Western Australia.
The proposal has two stages. The first stage would treat the monazite with caustic to produce a solid containing rare earth hydroxides and a calcium phosphate waste. The second stage would treat the solid containing the rare earth hydroxide to produce rare earth salts, thorium waste and the ammonium nitrate waste.
Note: Upon consideration of this proposal the Environmental Protection Authority concluded that Stage One is environmentally acceptable and that Stage Two is not environmentally acceptable.
Consequently, Rhone-Poulenc developed a revised strategy for the management of the waste by-product (principally ammonium nitrate). Although an ERMP was prepared for the revised strategy, Rhone-Poulenc withdrew their proposal in 1990 hence the EPA was not required to give advice to Government.