Rare Element Resources Ltd (OTCQB: REEMF) has reported successful results from its pilot scale test work which is demonstrating its proprietary rare earth separation technology.
The studies being conducted by Umwelt-und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH Dresden (UIT) in a hydrometallurgical pilot plant in Germany utilising ore from Rare Element’s Bear Lodge Project in Wyoming.
The pilot tests are also using the company’s enhanced proprietary technology, in a programme designed to produce several products – a high-purity neodymium/praseodymium (Nd/Pr) oxide, lanthanum (La) oxide, and a mixed mid and heavy rare earth concentrate.
Randall Scott, President and CEO of Rare Elements said UIT recently successfully completed demonstration of separation of Nd/Pr from total rare earth oxide (TREO) concentrate to produce a solid Nd/Pr product. The proprietary process separates Nd/Pr from a thorium/cerium free process stream to create product that is, from a practical and regulatory perspective, radioactivity free.
According to Mr Scott this process involves fewer steps in a closed cycle environmentally sound method which means it is expected to have lower operating and capital costs than current technologies. In addition, the purity of the separated Nd/Pr and other rare earth products can be tailored to meet customer requirements through a limited number of highly efficient solvent extraction cycles.
The high-purity Nd/Pr product will be utilised in the production of high-strength permanent magnets used in defense applications, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and other products.
“We are very encouraged by the pilot plant results using our proprietary technology to produce a thorium-free Nd/Pr oxide,”Mr Scott said.
“This product is key to unlocking the supply chain for rare earth magnet production in the U.S. Our ability to produce this product is timely given the current interest and associated funding initiatives of U.S. governmental agencies.
“The company recognises the critical nature of the products produced from the Bear Lodge pilot plant and we will continue to work closely with those who can enhance our trajectory to full production.”
Additional testwork this year will include the economic optimisation of process steps, developing scale-up design criteria for a demonstration plant, and confirmation of operating and capital costs estimates.