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Medallion Completes Process Engineering Work for RE Extraction

The date of: 2020-02-26
viewed: 0

source:GlobeNewswire (press release)

Completion of an extensive Process Engineering Design project for the extraction of REE from monazite sand, including detailed process flow diagrams and full waste management solutions.

Project provides the requirements for a Techno-Economic Assessment (see description below) that will define economic considerations for a US-based REE operation.

Sites and trade-off studies are now being evaluated in the US for prospective plant locations. Once complete, Medallion will progress to plant engineering, with a specific capacity and location.

Medallion’s plant feedstock is by-product monazite sand, an REE mineral rich in rare-earth magnet metals, essential for high-strength magnets required to power EVs and hybrids.

Key Magnet Metals — Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr)

Due to the high Neodymium and Praseodymium (together referred to as “NdPr”) content of monazite, output from Medallion’s proposed plant is rich in these most critical REEs. NdPr is the key ingredient for the manufacture of high-strength permanent magnets (“NdFeB magnets”), which are essential to the lightweight and powerful motors required in EVs, defense applications, and numerous clean technologies. In motors, NdFeB magnets enable electrical energy to be converted to mechanical energy with maximum efficiency. They are favored by EV manufacturers to improve performance and battery range.

Most current and planned EV and hybrid models, including the Tesla Model 3, incorporate NdFeB magnets as a key component in the traction motor. While internal gas and diesel-powered vehicles each use approximately 0.7 kg of NdPr for accessory electric motors, EVs and hybrid vehicles require on average an additional 140% NdPr. Adamas Intelligence (Electric Growth: EVs Motors and Motor Materials, 2019 H2) forecast that NdFeB magnet demand for traction motors will increase NdPr usage from 3,000 tpa in 2018 to approximately 28,000 tpa in 2030, representing a 12-year increase exceeding 900%. Given projected NdPr shortages, prices of Nd and Pr are forecast to more than double over that timeframe.

Presently, on a global basis, the automotive sector represents approximately 50% of total NdPr usage and NdPr represents the majority of the REE market by value (Total annual REE market: approximately $4B). For more on how the EV and hybrid vehicle will impact the rare-earth marketplace see this report from Adamas Intelligence: “Electric Growth: EVs, Motors and Motor Materials”.

Techno-Economic Assessment

The proposed Techno-Economic Assessment is a scoping-level study that will produce a Class 4 technical and economic assessment of the project in accordance with the American Association of Cost Engineers International (AACEI) standards (Recommended Practice 18R-97). The AACEI is the recognized body for capital and operating cost analysis of chemical production facilities globally. Medallion believes this methodology is appropriate for its proposed hydro-metallurgical plant using contracted mineral feedstock.

Medallion has engaged international engineering group Stantec (TSX: STN) to evaluate sites in the United States for Medallion’s extraction plant using feedstock sourced from the Southeast United States. The evaluation also covers both upstream and downstream logistics options related to the transport of monazite feedstock, reagents, produced concentrates and waste.

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