- 74.5% of the total REEs and >75% of magnet REE’s (Nd + Pr) can be concentrated in the fine fraction, which makes up just over half (51%) of the sample volume.
- A reduction of nearly half of the feed volume of REE bearing clay material would significantly lower acid consumption and would mean a substantial reduction in both the OPEX and CAPEX at REE extraction stage.
- Concentration of REE’s in half the volume of material can be achieved by simple screening and recovering the -20 μm fraction.
- This is the fraction that also contains the potentially valuable kaolin by-product.
- Previously reported recoveries of up to 88% were achieved for the MREOs (Nd, Pr, Dy, Tb) in leaching trials on 100% of the sample volume.
- Further test work will involve the substitution of hydrochloric acid for common table salt, or NaCl, to reduce acid costs and will also include the viability of ion exchange desorption using various ion exchange salts, all to be undertaken on the -20 μm fraction.
WATCH: MD Mike Schwarz discusses the new metallurgical process and the significance of the preliminary results.
(This exploration update was recorded in June 2023.)