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FLSmidth acid-bake kiln for rare earths processing in Western Australia

The date of: 2018-11-16
viewed: 3

Source:International Mining

FLSmidth has been chosen as the supplier of an acid-bake rotary kiln to the Hastings Technology Metals Yangibana rare earths project in Australia. FLSmidth will design and supply the kiln and provide technical assistance for this essential component in rare earths processing.

The acid-bake rotary kiln incorporates concentrate mixing and feeding equipment, directs waste gas to a separate scrubbing facility, and provides a natural gas fired heating system essential for the processing of rare earths. Following receipt of tender submissions, Hastings awarded the contract to FLSmidth.

The deal is significant strategically for FLSmidth as it recognises the depth of pyrometallurgical processing technology the company can provide for rare earths production of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr). NdPr is a key ingredient in the production of permanent magnets which are widely used in electric vehicle (EV) motors, direct drive wind turbines, medical equipment-MRI, and high-end electronics.

“The order of an acid-bake rotary kiln to the Hastings Technology Metals Yangibana rare earths project in Australia is significant for FLSmidth on a global perspective. It recognizes the ability of FLSmidth to provide technology for the processing of rare earths. The general growth in demand for battery minerals has allowed us to use pyrometallurgical processing experience to facilitate the needs of our fast-growing customers – but now it has also allowed us to expand our business into neodymium and praseodymium production,” comments Laurie Barlow, Head of Mining, Australia at FLSmidth.

Yangibana currently covers some 650 km2 in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, some 250 km northeast of Carnarvon. The project is comprised of significant deposits across the tenement holdings – Bald Hill, Frasers, Yangibana West, Yangibana and Auer – all 100% owned by Hastings (the areas mentioned herein represents approximately 50 km2 out of the total of 650 km2). In addition, Hastings holds a controlling 70% stake in other tenements held in a Joint Venture arrangement in the greater Yangibana area, although these have not been considered in this DFS study.

The project deposits have one of the highest rare earth basket values in the world when compared to other projects. Whilst the Mineral Resources contains 16 rare earth elements, Hastings has identified a combination of four elements (neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium) as having most significant economic value in relation to growth expectations in the near and medium term. In particular, Nd and Pr account for approximately 85% of rare earth basket value.

The DFS evaluates the development of the mine, process plant (incorporating beneficiation and hydrometallurgy) and supporting infrastructure. The project is designed to mine 1 Mt/y of ore and a process plant is planned to produce up to 15,000 t/y of Mixed Rare Earths Carbonate (MREC) from the Bald Hill and Frasers deposits. In addition to the DFS Probable Reserves Production Target comprising the first six years of mine life, Hastings has also evaluated the economic benefit of mining an Additional Production Target comprising of the Yangibana, Auer, Auer-North and Yangibana West deposits, which will increase mine life to eight years.

The picture shows a typical kiln section being installed on another project.

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