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Rare Element Resources: Advancing cutting-edge rare earth recovery technology

The date of: 2024-03-08
viewed: 0

source:Innovation news work

Rare Element Resources’ rare earth recovery technology has significant economic and environmental advantages over traditional methods and will be refined and confirmed at a demonstration scale in mid-2024.

Rare Element Resources (RER), in cooperation with its technology partner, defence and diversified technology industry leader General Atomics (GA), and the Department of Energy (DOE), has engineered and is currently constructing a rare earth processing and separation plant to scale-up and further refine their innovative rare earth recovery technology.

This rare earth recovery technology has successfully produced separate rare earth oxides and demonstrated economic and environmental improvements over traditional recovery methods in pilot-scale testing.

The GA-led project team designed the closed system to significantly reduce waste and recycle reagents. Demonstration plant operations are expected to begin in mid-2024, with the economic and operational data generated being used to advance the commercialisation of the process.

The importance of rare earths

Critical minerals, especially rare earths, provide the building blocks for many modern technologies and are essential to our national security and economic prosperity.

Rare earths are key in defence systems and clean energy technologies like electric vehicles and wind turbines. As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600% in decades to come.

The US currently depends on foreign sources for many of the processed versions of these minerals. Globally, China controls most of the market for processing and refining rare earths, from mining (~70%) to magnet manufacture (~90%).

Studies by the Biden and Trump administrations concluded that an over-reliance on foreign sources, especially from adversarial nations, for critical minerals and manufactured materials poses a national and economic security threat.

These reports recommend working with partners and allies to diversify sustainable sources of critical minerals, expanding domestic mining, production and processing, and investigating the practicality of recycling. The DOE’s participation in the Company’s demonstration project directly results from these initiatives.

Advancing the rare earth recovery technology at the Bear Lodge project

This recovery technology will be advanced by processing mineralised feedstock from the Company’s Bear Lodge Rare Earth Project in northeast Wyoming.

Bear Lodge is a well-delineated mineral deposit with over 500 drill holes for over 285,000 feet of core. It is rich in the rare earths essential for the high-strength permanent magnets used in everything from fighter jets to electric vehicles to medical imaging equipment.

Bear Lodge’s resource model is currently being updated with a focus on the high-value rare earths – neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), dysprosium (Dy), and lanthanum (La), which are prominent in the deposit. Technical reports and resource modelling, scheduled for 2024, will support the resumption of Bear Lodge permitting activities.

The State of Wyoming and the DOE have demonstrated their support for the demonstration plant project with over $26M in financial commitments for the construction and operation of the plant.

RER, through its innovative technology and the strength of its Bear Lodge Rare Earth Project, is working to help address the issue of supply security by creating a domestic source of separated rare earths while ensuring they are sourced in an environmentally responsible way.

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