NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Molycorp Inc.'s stock price rose 9 percent Wednesday after an analyst raised his rating on the stock, saying that the rare earth minerals company's long-term prospects are still attractive. THE SPARK: Brian Chin of Gabelli & Co. upgraded Molycorp to "Buy" from "Hold." The company has also been buoyed by its Monday announcement that it has started operations at a new California mine that will become a source of rare earth elements used in applications ranging from hybrid electric vehicles to consumer electronics. THE BACKGROUND: Molycorp's Project Phoenix facilities at Mountain Pass, Calif., will produce heavy rare earth concentrate from ore mined at the location. The concentrate will then be processed into rare earth products at Molycorp's global production facilities. This week an on-site heat and power plant is expected to begin producing electrical power and steam for the company's Mountain Pass facilities. THE ANALYSIS: Chin said in a client note that all that is left to get to Phase 1 production run rate is the completion of a rare earth oxide separation facility that is already partially done and product finishing operations. The analyst said Molycorp continues to consistently meet milestones to get Project Phoenix's Phase 1 production online on time and on budget. Chin added that recently completed financing gives liquidity to the company through the first-half of 2013. SHARE ACTION: Shares of Molycorp rose 97 cents, or 9 percent, to $11.72 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $9.40 to $58.74. The shares are down 57 percent for the year to date.