Here’s why Lynas Corporation Limited shares surged 20% today

The Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX: LYC) share price surged 20% to 9 cents this morning after it released its quarterly activities report to the market.

The rare earths producer advised that with 100% of neodymium-praseodymium capacity commissioned and operating, new benchmarks were set in this quarter. Record production volume meant total tonnes mines increased 30%, with neodymium-praseodymium increasing by 36%.

It wasn’t just production that was breaking records. Sales volume was also at record highs, leading to a 27% increase in invoiced sales to $55.9 million. This brought total FY 2016 sales to a solid $196.1m. Management revealed that the strong result is down to both increased production volumes and continuing strong relationships with strategic customers in Japan and China.

Whilst prices may have remained low and a small upward trend in the neodymium-praseodymium price earlier this quarter has not been sustained, the company has worked hard at bringing costs down to offset this.

The company managed to bring overhead and administration cash costs down to $5.8m from $8.1m last quarter. This is an especially impressive outcome given the increase in sales in the quarter resulted in a more favourable cost per kilo ratio.

Another key benefit of the record production levels was the impact it had on its JARE senior loan. By meeting its agreed targets the interest rate on the US$203 million of debt outstanding reduced from 6.5% to 5.7% from July 1 2016.

Management had this to say on the result:

“The results achieved this quarter, and for the year, reflect the sustained improvements in business operations delivered over the past two years which have created the strong foundations on which Lynas now operates, and reaffirms the company’s position as the only sustainable rare earths miner and producer outside of China.”

After such a positive quarter I can fully understand why the share price is surging higher today. Should neodymium-praseodymium prices rebound higher in the months ahead then the company will be in a great position to benefit. But right now its impossible to say which direction prices will go. For this reason I personally think it is too high risk an investment for most investors.

Investors looking for exposure to the resources sector might be better off looking at South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) in my opinion.

Alternatively, these three fantastic new breed blue chip shares might be even better investment options. Each pays a solid dividend and could provide share price gains in the months ahead.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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